State inspects construction cranes yearly
Are the tower cranes around Honolulu inspected for safety? If so, by whom? Bellevue, Wash., had a tower crane accident on Nov. 16 in which one person was killed and three buildings were damaged.
Answer: The Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division oversees work sites to make sure they are safe.
Under the division, "we already ensure that all cranes are operating in a safe manner and all equipment is kept up ... and working properly," said James Hardway, spokesman for the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, which oversees the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division.
The state also requires hoisting-machine operators to be certified.
However, "the present problem with the rules is that, although it is required by state law to be certified, there is no enforcement or penalty if you're not," Hardway said.
There was an "oversight" when the rules were made about five years ago that didn't attach any penalties to an operator not being certified.
"That is something we'll be resolving within the next couple of months," Hardway said.
The Hoisting Machine Operator's Advisory Board is setting up new rules, which should be finalized by the early part of this year. The board was created by the state Legislature in 1998 to establish a certification program for operators of cranes/hoisting machines, and to advise the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division.
Back to the equipment itself, Hardway says annual inspections are done for "high-risk" industries, which would include the construction industry.
The division gets a list of construction sites statewide, then puts them on a schedule for on-site inspections. They will issue fines and citations if there are problems, Hardway said.
The division also has a consultation branch, which will visit construction sites and "provide consultation to ensure that employees are provided a safe and healthful workplace," he said.
To the driver of a Saturn Vue. On the evening of Dec. 27, at approximately 5:45 p.m., you deliberately ignored a four-way stop sign at Kilauea Avenue and 18th Avenue and almost T-boned my car with my mother and 2-year-old son in it. It is drivers like you who make our roads dangerous and put innocent lives at risk. -- K. Kam
My car suddenly lost power and came to a dead stop on Kalanianaole Highway in Hawaii Kai on Friday morning, Dec. 29. A young woman with her son and daughter immediately stopped to help. She called AAA, then offered to take us to wherever we were going. The driver of a red pickup truck pushed my car out of harm's way. I'm sorry that I didn't get a chance to thank him for putting himself in danger. We three senior ladies want to thank these good Samaritans for defusing a very stressful situation. Many good wishes to both of them for 2007. -- A Grateful Driver
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