Division of Industrial Relations hosts former U.S. Department of Labor official for roundtable discussion

Las Vegas, NV May 17, 2019

On May 8, 2019, the Division of Industrial Relations (DIR) hosted Dr. David Michaels, former United States Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health for a roundtable discussion on occupational safety and health enforcement, and safety consultation and training.  Dr. Michaels was appointed by President Barack Obama and served from 2009 to January 2017, earning the distinction as the longest serving assistant secretary in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) history.

Dr. Michaels shared his insights on how to increase the public presence of OSHA through stakeholder meetings and media outreach, and how to expand OSHA’s impact by incentivizing businesses to improve safety without conducting an inspection. He provided examples of how these practices were implemented during his tenure at the U.S. Department of Labor which included: issuing press releases about key safety issues that motivated businesses to preemptively abate hazards and publishing a list of businesses in a targeted industry and announcing that inspections of these businesses would begin in six months.

Chief Administrative Officer of DIR’s Safety Consultation and Training Section (SCATS) Todd Schultz stated, "I enjoyed the discussions with Dr. Michaels. His point that OSHA’s true mission is prevention and that consultation programs are key in delivering on that mission resonated with me. In Nevada, SCATS - the education arm of Nevada OSHA - achieves that goal through free onsite consultation visits and training. Last year, SCATS assisted over 700 businesses and trained over 6,000 employees."

DIR staff shared information about the division’s innovative drone program and how the technology is being used to safely conduct inspections at large construction sites. The group also discussed pending legislation that would require medical facilities to report workplace violence incidents to Nevada OSHA. Dr. Michaels shared research correlating workplace safety with patient safety which indicates that workers who feel safe are less likely to make errors, more likely to follow safe practices and work well in teams.

After the meeting, Dr. Michaels tweeted, “Thank you for inviting me. I was so impressed with the great work of the Nevada OSHA staff. The workers and employers of Nevada are fortunate to have such a dedicated group of safety and health professionals working on their behalf.”

About the Division of Industrial Relations

The Division of Industrial Relations, and agency of the Nevada Department of Business and Industry encompasses six sections: Legal, Mechanical Compliance (MCS), Mine Safety and Training (MSATS), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Safety Consultation and Training (SCATS), and Workers’ Compensation (WCS). MCS is responsible for safety relating to elevators, escalators, boilers, and pressure vessels; MSATS inspects and provides safety training for mine operations; Nevada OSHA enforces health and safety standards in the workplace; SCATS offers Nevada businesses free safety consultations; and WCS ensures that Nevada workers injured on the job receive the benefits for which they are entitled.

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Teri Williams
Public Information Officer