Maui News

State of Hawaiʻi reports surge in work-related fatalities in 2021

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In the state of Hawaiʻi, there have been seven workplace fatalities unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic to date in 2021. This is five more than in all of 2020. Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

To date in 2021, there have been seven fatalities and 23 major incidents (unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic) in the workplace, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations announced today.

The Hawaiʻi Occupational Safety and Health Division (HIOSH) 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.

In 2020, the state investigated approximately 28 reported incidences, with 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,” said Department of Labor & Industrial Relations Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio. “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.”

HIOSH provides consultation services that help employers identify hazards and improve safety and health programs. 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.

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The following fatalities occurred to date in 2021:

  • Jan. 8 (Oahu): worker struck by company vehicle.
  • March 15 (Maui): aviation worker fell off a high truck platform.
  • July 19 (Oahu): truck mounted boom fell on a repair worker who died from injuries.
  • Aug. 13 (Oahu): pallet being unloaded from a container fell on a worker who died from injuries.
  • Aug. 30 (Maui): worker struck by vehicle while working on a public highway.
  • Dec. 8 (Big Island): worker struck on head by company equipment.
  • Dec. 13 (Kauai): worker died while operating machinery that rolled over.
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Many of the other unsafe incidences in 2021 resulted in amputations, bone fractures, dislocated shoulders and joints, and electrical burns.

HIOSH’s Consultation & Training Branch offers employers hazard identification and assistance with occupational safety and health programs. This free service can also qualify employers for a one-year exemption from routine inspections. Call 808-586-9100 or email at [email protected] for more information or to set up an appointment.

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