OSHA needs warrant to talk to casino workers 5-1-07

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration will need a warrant if it wants an inspector to interview workers at a southern Arizona tribal casino, a federal judge has ruled.

An OSHA inspector was able to check out Casino del Sol, one of two casinos owned and operated by the Pascua Yaqui tribe, in January with a warrant.

The warrant, however, did not include language allowing the inspector to talk to workers about their everyday safety practices. Pascua Yaqui tribal officials stopped the inspector from interviewing workers, saying he was overstepping the warrant.

OSHA also asked to inspect Casino of the Sun, the tribe's other casino, but the tribe refused because it wasn't listed on the warrant.

OSHA asked U.S. District Judge Frank Zapata to hold the casino and the tribe in contempt of court, but the judge recently sided with the tribe.

OSHA could get the chance to question casino workers if the agency asks for another warrant.

Casino del Sol, which opened in 2001, has never been inspected by OSHA, according to a database of inspection records. The casinos employ about 1,400 people.