Las Vegas Sun

July 22, 2018

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Construction Deaths

Construction workers had been dying at a rate of one every six weeks in the $32 billion building boom on the Las Vegas Strip. But deaths stopped last year after the Las Vegas Sun exposed serious safety flaws on the sites and detailed how lax oversight by safety regulators failed to prevent accidents.

The stories forced state and federal investigations and became the subject of hearings in the U.S. House and Senate. Sens. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid and others sent a letter to President Bush demanding safety reforms in the Labor Department.

As the Sun pursued the story, the newspaper reported on cozy relationships existing between safety regulators and builders. Angered by the revelations and continuing death toll, workers walked off the job at MGM Mirage's CityCenter, shutting down the largest private commercial development in U.S. history until the contractors agreed to safety improvements.

Twelve workers had died in 18 months. But after the improvements, the deaths stopped. No workers have died since June 2008.

This page features the Sun's series, which includes stories, a video, an interactive and documents from OSHA concerning the deaths, plus follow-up stories.

Q+A: Filmmaker discusses worker safety, deaths on Strip construction sites
Q+A: Filmmaker discusses worker safety, deaths on Strip construction sites
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Inspired by the Las Vegas Sun's Pulitzer Prize-winning 2009 investigation into the deaths of construction workers on the Las Vegas Strip, filmmaker Jordan Ehrlich has created a documentary, "The Cost of Construction" …
Man who died in possible construction-related incident identified
Sunday, August 2, 2015
A man who died Saturday during a possible construction-related incident has been identified by the Clark County Coroner's office as Porfirio Gonzalez-Huerta of Las Vegas.
Construction worker who fell to death identified
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
The Clark County Coroner's Office has identified the construction worker who fell to his death Tuesday in Summerlin as 26-year-old Mark Lovett.
Metro investigating death at Summerlin construction site
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Metro Police are investigating a death at the Summerlin shopping center construction site this morning.
Photo: Debi Fergen touches a photo of her son, Travis Koe
Mother continues legal crusade for son killed in 2007 construction death
Thursday, June 13, 2013
More than six years after her son’s death at a hotel construction site, Debi Koehler still is hoping for justice. Her hope stems from a ruling Friday in a lawsuit that aims to hold Boyd Gaming Corp. responsible for the death of two maintenance workers in 2007 is moving forward despite the company’s latest attempt to have the case dismissed. Clark County District Judge Gloria Sturman denied Boyd’s motion for summary judgment, noting several times the facts of the case were egregious and compelling.
Coroner ID’s man killed in construction accident
Thursday, April 25, 2013
A man killed Wednesday when he was hit by a drainage pipe at a construction site has been identified as 60-year-old William Paul Little, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office.
OSHA investigating construction-related fatality in Las Vegas
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
A man was killed in a construction-related accident Tuesday morning when a pipe rolled over him, Metro Police Officer Lawrence Hadfield said.
State officials investigating cause of fatal tunnel breach
State officials investigating cause of fatal tunnel breach
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
As the investigation begins into a Monday accident at a Lake Mead construction site that left one man dead, officials released new details Tuesday about what happened in the tunnel 600 feet underground.
Execs, workers disagree on level of construction safety
Execs, workers disagree on level of construction safety
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Twenty-five months after CityCenter construction workers walked off the job to protest workplace fatalities and safety conditions there, researchers have confirmed what the Sun reported at the time.
New OSHA office means more enforcement
Friday, June 18, 2010
Law Quarterly: Feds open facility due to state OSHA’s problems
Nevada employers required to keep workplaces safe have a new watchdog: the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Photo: Debi Fergen, holding a picture Monday of her son,
Mother calls for criminal probes in workplace safety cases
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
A mother whose son died in an on-the-job accident at a Las Vegas hotel is calling for the district attorney or the state attorney general to be called into safety violation cases to conduct possible criminal prosecutions.
Worker safety training plan sent back for a rewrite
Friday, November 27, 2009
Lawmakers told the state Division of Industrial Relations to take another swipe at developing a regulation to require safety training for Nevada construction workers.
State OSHA lambasted by House committee
State OSHA lambasted by House committee
Friday, October 30, 2009
Agency faces greater federal oversight if improvements aren’t made
Nevada OSHA must stop letting companies off easy for safety violations and eliminate political influence on its decisions or face greater federal oversight, elected officials said at a House hearing on regulators’ response to Strip construction deaths.
OSHA plans new Vegas office to monitor workplace safety
OSHA plans new Vegas office to monitor workplace safety
Thursday, October 29, 2009
WASHINGTON -- Federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration officials plan to return to Nevada and ultimately set up an office in the state to monitor Nevada OSHA's efforts to improve its lax oversight of workplace safety.
Photo: An impromptu memorial for killed construction work
What’s at stake in House hearing on OSHA
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Panel to review documented problems in state agency, hear emotional testimony on deaths
When the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee holds a hearing Thursday to examine the failings of Nevada’s workplace-safety program, representatives will try to answer two overarching questions: