by F. Andrew Taylor
Changes in Section 618 of the Nevada Administrative Code went into effect in January, and on the surface they seem like small ones. But as the word filtered from legalese to the rank-and-file, some confusion grew, which in turn led to some ruffled feathers and even a bit of panic. Rest assured, the federally-issued OSHA cards do not expire, but if you’re working in Nevada, they have a five-year expiration based on the end date of when you took the course. So, those who come to Nevada to work must have taken their OSHA-10 course within the past five years.
A January 26 press release on business.nv.gov read: “The Division of Industrial Relations today announced updates to Section 618 of the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) related to occupational safety and health training requirements for workers in the convention services industry. The updated regulations provide guidance and details on the statutory requirements found in Nevada Revised Statute Sections 618.9920 – 618.9931.”
There’s more to it once you read the entirety of the code changes, but in plain speak, just about everyone working in a convention space needs to have OSHA-10 or in the case of management, OSHA-30 certification. Fortunately, most people who work in the industry already have one, and those who don’t can acquire one pretty easily.
This applies to anyone involved in constructing, installing, maintaining, operating or removing tradeshow or exhibition displays as well as loading or unloading equipment and materials, erecting or dismantling booths and structures, rigging display areas, and installing temporary electrical power for use in display areas.
OSHA-10 is the 10-hour safety course that covers general safety and health hazards for entry-level workers. “The OSHA-10 course is not a difficult course,” says Crystal Slaughter (pictured right), apprenticeship coordinator/director for Teamsters 631. “It is informational for general safety hazards encountered by most employees. It is an introduction to workplace safety.”
Some of the confusion comes from the unprinted expiration date on OSHA-10/30 cards issued in Nevada. OSHA-10/30 cards are issued by the federal agency and have no expiration date, but those same cards issued in Nevada to workers in the convention services industry have a five-year expiration based on the end date of the course that provided it. It’s up to the individual card holders and those who hire them to know when that invisible expiration date is.
“Let’s be clear,” Slaughter clarifies. “The OSHA-10 general industry cards do not expire. They are a certification from the federal Department of Labor, not the state of Nevada. The state can make rules more strict than the national standards which they have here. It says you must have taken it within the last five years. Not an expiration date.”
This rule change might not be common knowledge, especially to workers coming from out of state to work a convention. But the word is spreading in Nevada. Many of the people this directly affects know something is up, but they’re fuzzy on what the new rules are.
James Harmer (pictured left), business agent for Teamsters 631 tried to clear up some of the confusion. “Nevada state law effective January 2021 requires anyone working in conventions performing convention-specific work to have OSHA-10 training and proof of such,” Harmer says. “Supervisors must have an OSHA-30. The ambiguity that exists, which I hope this puts to bed, is that the law includes a provision that requires an OSHA-10 refresher if the original certification is older than five years old. [NRS 618.9929-3]. Any completion card used to satisfy the requirements of this section expires five years after the date it is issued.”
He adds that the cards can be renewed in several ways:
(a) Completing an OSHA-10 course or OSHA-30 course, as applicable, within the previous five years; or
(b) Providing proof satisfactory to the Division that the worker has completed continuing education within the previous five years consisting of job-specific training that meets the guidelines established by the Division pursuant to NRS 618.9927 in an amount of:
(1) Not less than five hours for a completion card issued for an OSHA-10 course; or
(2) Not less than 15 hours for a completion card issued for an OSHA-30 course.
“I am hearing a lot of bad information on this,” Harmer says. “Since I was provided the opportunity of working hand-in-hand with our lobbyist and the honor of testifying in front of lawmakers, I recommend you choose who you listen to carefully. To be safe, contact the training center with any questions. We recommend taking a new course if your OSHA-10 wasn’t issued within the last five years.”
Problematically, the guidelines for the five-hour refresher haven’t been established yet. “I don’t think they’ve certified that training yet,” says Julie Kagy (pictured right), director of operations for the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association. “I don’t see how they can enact it until they do. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Safety training should be done on a regular basis to keep it fresh anyway.”
“As of right now there is no guidance from the state regarding the five-hour refresher,” says Slaughter. “When we get it, we will work on it.”
This also creates an extra level of workload for OSHA-10/30 trainers who find themselves in the position of retraining every union member who received their initial training more than five years ago.
Slaughter notes that the union has been offering the classes for two years in preparation for this deadline. Those classes have been moving forward at a rapid pace. The classes require at least 12 students. Since the lockdowns and the change to virtual training, the union has completed 14 sessions.
“It hasn’t really changed any of the curriculum except we cannot do any of the hands-on-activities,” says Slaughter. “We still have to follow the OSHA requirements on subjects, time and content. The only real change is our interaction with the students. The requirements for the class are the same as they have always been; the only difference is in the delivery method. We trainers have to work harder to keep the students engaged. That’s not a
The OSHA-10 courses offered by the union take place over a pair of five-hour sessions usually on subsequent days. For people required to get OSHA-10 certification who aren’t union members, there are several private organizations that offer classes online. OSHA-10 classes generally cost less than $100 and OSHA-30 classes are usually less than $200. OSHA-30 classes are generally more intense and in depth.
Most of the classes are reinforcement of common sense, but a necessary reminder to weed out the few folks who think it’s a good idea to stick a fork in an electric outlet. Teamsters 631 offers the classes free for its members.
“It’s not very difficult at all but it’s a good idea to keep on top of the training,” says Tommy Blitsch (pictured left), secretary treasurer of Teamsters 631. “Currently the classes are being done online over Zoom, because of COVID-19. Since 2000, OSHA-10 has been part of the union’s standard training.”
This story originally appeared in the Mar./Apr. 2021 issue of Exhibit City News, p. 34-35. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_mar-apr_2021