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Howard Stutz

Federal inspectors to lend hand

6 June 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Federal OSHA health and safety officers will join Nevada OSHA officials next week to help complete a comprehensive inspection of the $9.2 billion CityCenter job site, it was announced Thursday.

The federal inspectors, who were asked to join the effort by Nevada's Occupational Safety and Health Administration department, will be on-site starting Monday.

The move comes after union-backed construction workers staged a one-day walkout earlier this week at the massive CityCenter project to express concerns about job-site safety. The strike shut down activity at the development and the neighboring Cosmopolitan project for 24 hours.

Six construction workers have died at CityCenter in the past 16 months, including a crane company employee who was killed at the site last weekend. CityCenter encompasses five different high-rise hotel and residential buildings, including a 4,000-room hotel-casino and a 500,000-square-foot retail, dining and entertainment complex. MGM Mirage and Dubai World are joint-venture partners in the project.

"Given the unprecedented scope of the project and the six fatalities on the site thus far, it's essential that we conduct the comprehensive inspection as thoroughly and as quickly as possible," said Tom Czehowski, Nevada OSHA's chief administrative officer.

Federal OSHA inspectors do not have jurisdiction in Nevada and will not be able to issue citations. Czehowski said their presence will expand the capacity of staff to complete the CityCenter inspection.

Construction workers returned to their jobs Tuesday night after the Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades Council negotiated an agreement with Perini Building Co., CityCenter's general contractor, which allowed for various safety assessments and on-site training programs.

The OSHA inspection is an all-encompassing review of the CityCenter job site where inspectors look for all hazards associated with violations of safety standards.

"By bringing in the federal inspectors, the work can simply be done that much quicker," Gov. Jim Gibbons said.