Nevada workplace safety violations face steep increase in fines
Businesses charged with health/safety violations will face a significant increase in penalties beginning with complaints opened Tuesday.
The increases are contained in Senate Bill 40 from this past legislative session which authorizes the division to adopt penalties up to those imposed by the federal Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA).
Nevada’s administrative penalties haven’t been increased since 1990. Serious violations carry a fine of $7,000. The new penalty will increase to $13,260 for violations that have, “a high likelihood of seriously injuring or killing a worker.”
For willful violations or certain cases of repeated violations, the maximum penalty will rise from $70,000 to $132,598 per violation.
A spokesman for Nevada OSHA said the state will continue to match penalties assessed by the federal government including adjustments resulting from the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015.
The language in SB40 also extends the time period available to entities to begin the process to contest citations and penalties. That part of the statute was requested by industry. Effective Oct. 1, regulated entities have 30 calendar days to notify the agency they intend to contest a citation. Previously, the notification period was just 15 days.
The division’s Safety Consultation and Training Section (SCATS) provides Nevada employers consultation services on the prevention of workplace injury and illness and the identification of hazards that could result in citations. During fiscal 2019, a spokesman said that group performed 766 on-site consultations for 650 employers across the state. Those consultations turned up 4,158 serious hazards but the spokesman pointed out that during the consultation process, employers get the opportunity to resolve the hazards without penalty.
According to a division statement, employers — especially in construction, manufacturing and hotel services — are encouraged to contact SCATS to schedule a free consultation at 1-877-4SAFENV or visit http://www.4safenv.state.nv.us.