Nearly 90 percent of businesses that previously were noncompliant with the statewide face-covering requirement, social distancing and other measures have been found to be compliant, according to the state officials.
The Division of Industrial Relations (DIR) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has begun conducting follow-up visits to business establishments that were previously found to be in noncompliance with measures to protect the safety and health of Nevada’s workforce during the coronavirus pandemic.
During initial field observations by officials, businesses that were not following the directive were provided a notice requesting voluntary compliance. Of those businesses, 89 percent are now compliant.
During the period of July 6 through 8, Nevada OSHA officials conducted 56 follow-up visits and found 50 of those businesses have taken the appropriate measures to come in compliance, a compliance rate of 89 percent.
At the businesses where continued violations were observed, an investigation process will be initiated by OSHA officials, according to a press release issued Thursday.
Pending the outcome of the investigation, confirmed noncompliance will result in a notice of citation and penalty outlining the alleged violations and requiring the businesses to take corrective action to come into compliance.
In addition, at the time the investigation is initiated, the business will be provided a written notice and informed that if ongoing noncompliance is observed, the administrator, under an emergency declaration, is authorized to order the business to cease operations at that location until the business has established and implemented operating procedures to comply.
If a business has demonstrated willful indifference to the health and safety of their employees, the violation is categorized as willful and a penalty of up to $134,940 per violation can be assessed.
A classification of “serious” can also be applied, resulting in a penalty of up to $13,494 per violation. Factors that can automatically reduce the assessed penalty amount include, but are not limited to, the employer’s OSHA history, the size of the business, and the gravity of the violation.
Details of open and ongoing investigations are confidential under Nevada law. Once the investigation is formally closed, details concerning the citations issued, including business names and locations can be released.
In addition to conducting follow-up visits, state officials have continued to conduct initial observations at businesses statewide. On July 7 and 8, officials conducted 474 observations.
During this observation period, 86 percent of businesses were found to be in compliance, with 85 percent compliance in northern Nevada and 87 percent compliance in southern Nevada.
Surveyed establishments included: convenience stores, pharmacies, general retail, grocery stores, restaurants, autos sales/repair and clothing stores.
Since the initial observations began, 1,564 initial observations have been conducted showing a cumulative statewide compliance rate of 79 percent statewide, 85 percent compliance in northern Nevada and 72 percent compliance in southern Nevada.
Jenny Kane covers arts and culture in Northern Nevada, as well as the dynamic relationship between the state and the growing Burning Man community. She also covers the state’s burgeoning cannabis industry (Check out her podcast, the Potcast, on iTunes.) Support her work in Reno by subscribing to RGJ.com right here.