A state agency confirmed it is investigating an accident at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center that killed an employee of the area’s leading tourism authority.
The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirmed Wednesday that it is actively investigating the circumstances surrounding the Jan. 30 accident.
Nevada OSHA is currently unable to provide further details about the investigation, said Teri Williams, a spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Business and Industry.
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“State law requires that the details of an investigation remain confidential until the case is officially closed. Therefore, at this time, I can only confirm that Nevada OSHA has been notified of the death and officers have been dispatched to the Reno Sparks Convention Center to begin an investigation,” Williams said.
What happened at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center?
On Tuesday, the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority told local media that one of its employees was injured at the convention center Monday afternoon.
“We have since been informed that the employee at the hospital has been declared deceased,” Charles Harris, RSCVA President and CEO, said in an emailed statement. “Our hearts go out to the family, friends and all of our team members who have been affected by this tragedy.”
The RSCVA is the premier convention and visitors bureau for the Reno-Tahoe area. In addition to promoting tourism in the area, the RSCVA oversees several facilities in Reno-Sparks, including the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center, and the National Bowling Stadium.
The RSCVA declined to provide details of the accident when it arrived late Tuesday. However, the tourism authority confirmed that no events were taking place at the convention center at the time of the accident.
Who is in charge of the investigation at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center?
Accidents at work usually fall under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
While Nevada is part of OSHA Region 9, jurisdiction for the convention center accident falls under Nevada OSHA, which is part of the Nevada Department of Business & Industry, said Mike Petersen, a spokesman for the Department of Labor.
“Nevada is a state plan state, so most investigations into workplace deaths are investigated by the Nevada Department of Business & Industry Industrial Relations,” Petersen said. “In states with a state plan, federal OSHA would not be included in an investigation unless the incident involved federal employees or federal entities.”
State plans refer to occupational safety programs conducted by OSHA-approved states.
Why didn’t the Reno police investigate the crime scene?
The Reno Police Department was not on hand to investigate the crime scene, the agency confirmed Wednesday. While the accident was fatal, the actual death likely occurred after the employee was transported out of the Reno-Sparks Convention Center rather than at the scene of the accident, so there was no police response, according to a department spokesman.
What’s next in the Reno-Sparks Convention Center investigation?
Nevada’s OSHA must first determine whether there have been any safety violations that led to the accident at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. If no violations are found, the case will be closed.
If a health or safety hazard is identified during the inspection, OSHA requires that the employer immediately mitigate that hazard to prevent future injury or illness, Williams said.
“If a violation is found, investigators have 6 months to issue a warrant and subpoena,” Williams said.
“The amount of the penalty would be determined by the type and number of violations found, with automatic adjustments being made based on factors such as severity, size of the company, OSHA history of the employer, etc.”