Nevada warns contractors: follow virus rules or be shut down

Construction continues in the US state of Nevada, but occupational health authorities there have scolded contractors for flaunting coronavirus safety rules, and have threatened to shut sites if they don’t follow them.

In a letter to the industry, the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (NVOSHA) said it had conducted intermittent surveys of construction sites, and found many wanting.

"At many of these work sites it is visibly obvious that employees are still being directed/allowed to work in close proximity (less than 6 feet of separation) to other staff," wrote NVOSHA chief administrative officer, Jess Lankford on 26 March.

Nevada declared a state of emergency on 12 March in response to the coronavirus pandemic, at which time the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19, the disease it causes, were in the single digits.

As of yesterday, the number of cases stood at 1,044, with 17 deaths statewide. 

In his letter, Jess Lankford reminded contractors of new guidelines for site safety in the pandemic era, published 18 March. They include:

  • Restricting site meetings to no more than 10 people with a six-foot distance between them;
  • Observing the six-foot rule in all work settings, including lifts and vans;
  • Providing sanitation and cleaning products for all common surfaces, including tools and mobile equipment;
  • Surveying workforce health status daily.

"NVOSHA is emphasising the need for construction leadership to be working with and aware of the health and well-being of its labour force," Lankford wrote.

He added that any site not complying with social-distancing requirements laid out in an earlier state emergency directive may be penalised or closed.

Image ©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

Around the world, governments have varied in their response to construction and the coronavirus. See also:

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