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There is more on Secretary Hilda Solis’s plate than creating new jobs in Nevada. Her department is also responsible for keeping workers safe. And it doesn’t have the best track-record here in the valley.
At the height of the construction boom here in Las Vegas – construction workers were dying at a rate of one every six weeks. The Department of Labor is supposed to prevent that from happening. Now they are investigating why they couldn’t.
Construction on the Strip may have slowed to a trickle, but that doesn’t mean the pressure to stay safe is off.
Do there have to be deaths on the Strip?
“No there shouldn’t be and that’s one of the reasons why under this administration we are currently assigning our task-force to look.We’ve been here since July,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.
After an expose by the Las Vegas Sun, and Congressional hearings into work-site safety, the Labor Department came under fire because it’s enforcement arm – the Occupation Health and Safety Administration- was seen as too cozy with big builders.
“If you don’t have any people to go out and do the inspections,” said Nevada Rep. Shelley Berkley. “All the laws in the world and all the regulations in the world aren’t going to make any difference.”
Secretary of Labor Solis was serving food at a Center where they specialize in finding work for Veterans. Some of the men they help could wind-up on construction sites. The Secretary says OSHA has to do some hiring of their to make sure those men are well care-for.
Is it just about man-power, or is it about how they do their jobs?
“It’s both,” Solis said. “In fact part of it is over site monitoring evaluation and penalties.”
It is true that there was a different administration in place when construction sites on the strip were compiling their fatal track-record. But it is still the same O.S.H.A. today that it was back then The Secretary says that’s not going to be the case once she has a chance to review and act on the investigation they’ve done into how work-place safety operates here in the Valley.