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Nevada Laws Designed To Improve Safety

It's little surprise that 18- to 34-year-olds are at the heart of a nationwide increase in illegal drug use, and the manufacturing industry traditionally draws heavily from this pool of job seekers.

Four measures aimed at improving safety at facilities where hazardous substances are produced have been signed into law this week by Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn. The legislation was prompted by an explosion at the Sierra Chemical Company's Kean Canyon plant outside of Sparks, Nev., that killed four workers and injured six in January.

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) investigated the incident and found that the Kean Canyon plant was missing or deficient in many essential elements of process safety management. Workers at the plant had little formal training in safely handling materials used to manufacture explosives.

CSB also cited Sierra's failure to provide procedure manuals and training in the workers' native language as contributing causes of the incident. Most of the workers at the explosives plant had little or no understanding of English.

Signed into law were four bills that require employers to provide safety training to their workers in the workers' own language or by a videotape in a language they understand; that revise standards for regulating facilities where highly hazardous substances are produced, used, stored or handled; and that require a conditional-use permit for the same facilities.

"I'm very proud to sign this group of bills into law because I believe they create common-sense preventive measures that will hopefully result in more thoroughly trained workers and more efficient standards for handling dangerous materials," Guinn said.

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