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Six Nevada businesses face fines, possible shut-down for repeat mask noncompliance

NNBW staff report

Officials with the Nevada Division of Industrial Relations Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) performed follow-up visits this week at businesses that were previously found to be in noncompliance with Gov. Sisolak’s June 24 mask order.

According to a July 9 press release from the state, between July 6-8, officials conducted 56 follow-up visits and found 50 of those businesses (89%) had taken the appropriate measures to come in compliance with the governor’s mask directive — when went into effect June 26 to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the Silver State.

The follow-up inspections came after OSHA officials conducted more than 1,000 initial field observations in late June and early July.

As for the six unnamed businesses where “continued violations were observed” this week, an investigation process will begin by OSHA.

“Pending the outcome of the investigation, confirmed noncompliance will result in the issuance of a notice of citation and penalty outlining the alleged violations and requiring the businesses to take corrective action to come into compliance,” according to the state’s press release. “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.”

According to the state, penalties are assessed based on how the violation is categorized and which reduction factors are applied.

“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,” officials said. “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 state law.

“Once the investigation is formally closed, details concerning the citations issued, including business names and locations, can be released,” the state said.

In addition, OSHA officials conducted an additional 474 initial field observations on July 7-8 across the state.

According to the July 9 press release, of those inspections, 86% of businesses were found to be in compliance, with 85% compliance in Northern Nevada and 87% compliance in Southern Nevada.

Surveyed establishments include convenience stores, pharmacies, general retail, grocery stores, restaurants, autos sales/repair and clothing stores, among others.

All told since June 26, 1,564 initial observations have been conducted, showing a cumulative statewide compliance rate of 79% —85% compliance in the north and 72% in the south.


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