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Hawaii labor department reports 7 workplace fatalities in 2021

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Construction workers install steel bleachers at Ching Field on June 30. A pallet of metal parts being unloaded from a container fell onto a 30-year-old construction worker there on July 29.

    JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Construction workers install steel bleachers at Ching Field on June 30. A pallet of metal parts being unloaded from a container fell onto a 30-year-old construction worker there on July 29.

The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations reported today that seven workplace fatalities have occurred so far this year, including a July 29 incident in which a pallet of metal parts being unloaded from a container fell onto a 30-year-old construction worker during retrofitting of the University of Hawaii’s the Clarence T.C. Athletics Complex to host Warrior football games.

A total of 23 “major incidents” unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic were reported to DLIR in 2021, many of them involving unsafe conditions that resulted in amputations, bone fractures, dislocated shoulders and joints, and electrical burns, among other injuries, the agency said.

The department’s Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division investigates workplace injuries and illnesses “to help ensure that employers are providing a safe work environment to their employees and are complying with safety and health laws,” according to a news release.

In 2020, HIOSH investigated 28 reported incidences including two that resulted in fatalities.

“This surge in serious industrial accidents is a harsh reminder for employers and workers to think about safety when taking any work actions,” DLIR Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio said in the release. “We are hopeful that by employers and workers keeping safety and health at the top of mind that the number of fatalities and serious workplace injuries will decline in 2022.”

The release listed the other Hawaii work-related fatalities in 2021 but did not provide further details:

>> A Jan. 8 incident on Oahu when a worker was struck by company vehicle.

>> A March 15 incident on Maui when aviation worker fell from a high truck platform.

>> A July 19 incident on Oahu when a truck-mounted boom fell on a repair worker.

>> An Aug. 30 incident on Maui when a worker on a public highway was struck by a vehicle.

>> A Dec. 8 incident on Hawaii island when a worker was struck on head by company equipment.

>> A Dec. 13 incident on Kauai when a worker died while operating machinery that rolled over.

HIOSH’s Consultation & Training Branch offers employers hazard identification and assistance with occupational safety and health programs. The free service also may qualify employers for a one-year exemption from routine inspections, the release said.

”All employers should examine conditions at their workplaces, safety policies, training and monitoring. Employers need to think safety, and avoid taking unsafe shortcuts to get a job done,” the release said.

For more information or to set up an appointment, call 808-586-9100 or email at dlir.hiosh.ct@hawaii.gov.

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