Heavy Equipment Rental Company Cited by US Labor Department's OSHA After Truck Crane Crushes Worker

HONOLULU – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Hawthorne Pacific Corp. in Kahului, Maui, for 13 alleged serious violations and two other-than-serious violations of safety standards. The heavy equipment rental and repair company faces fines following an Oct. 23, 2012, incident in which one of its cranes fatally crushed a worker.

"Hawthorne Pacific Corp. failed in its responsibility to ensure that workers followed the manufacturer's requirements for the safe operation and maintenance of equipment," said Galen Lemke, director of OSHA's Honolulu Area Office. "This tragic accident could have easily been prevented had the employer addressed these issues."

OSHA's Honolulu Area Office inspection found that outriggers designed to stabilize the truck-mounted crane that crushed the worker were not extended, allowing it to tip, and that the company failed to properly inspect and maintain records of critical items on the crane. The industrial boom truck crane had been out of service for more than six months and had not had a complete inspection before use. The company also failed to properly tag keys for the truck crane as "do not use" because a warning indicator wasn't functioning.

The inspection also found that shop equipment and compressed gas cylinders were not properly secured or anchored, some equipment was not in good operating condition, electrical outlets were not properly protected and machines were not properly guarded to prevent amputation or other injuries. The company also failed to make eye or body wash facilities accessible in key areas where workers were exposed to corrosive liquids. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Proposed fines total $70,000.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


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