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‘Workers need to think safety’: Hawaii reports surge in serious incidents

State of Hawaii -- Sep13

Photo: Dept. of Hawaiian Home Lands

Honolulu — Four workers in Hawaii were killed and seven were seriously injured during a 20-day span in May, according to the state’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, prompting further investigation from the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division.

Each of the fatalities involved moving equipment. One occurred when a heavy equipment boom lift holding a utility pole collapsed, causing the pole to strike a worker. Others include a worker who fell from a tipped forklift, another who was killed “when a golf-type cart lurched forward into a wall,” and one who died after operating a riding mower that slid down a slope and over a retaining wall.

“This surge in serious industrial accidents is a harsh reminder for employers and workers to think about safety when taking any work actions,” Hawaii DLIR Director Leonard Hoshijo said in a May 29 press release.

Hoshijo encourages employers to use free programs and resources from HIOSH’s Consultation and Training Branch.

“HIOSH provides consultation services that help employers identify hazards and improve safety and health programs,” Hoshijo said in the release. “While there’s no apparent connection between the accidents, all employers should examine conditions at their workplaces, safety policies, training and monitoring. Workers need to think safety, and avoid taking unsafe shortcuts to get a job done.”

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