State cites construction company for falls, electrical hazards

The state has cited a Kalihi construction company for exposing workers to falls and electrical hazards. An investigation into Color Dynamics was triggered on September 11, 2013, when an employee fell approximately 50 feet to his death.

According to the Hawaii State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ (DLIR) Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division (HIOSH), the safety violations were related to work on a flat roof 50 feet above the ground and that employees were not adequately protected from falls while working at elevated locations. It says Color Dynamics did not provide guardrails or nets and did not enforce the use of or provide personal fall arrest systems in good condition in all elevated work locations. Employees also were not trained in the methods they could use to protect themselves from a fall.

Color Dynamics was cited for two serious violations for deficiencies in the company safety program, four serious violations for failing to provide adequate fall protection to employees working in elevated locations, two serious violations for failing to give and document adequate fall protection training, and one serious violation for failing to ground electrical power cords.

Penalties for the two citations totaled $63,250.

In addition, an other-than-serious citation was issued because Color Dynamics did not provide water for its employees on the job site. Other-than-serious violations are those in which injuries are expected to be treatable by first aid measures.

The company released the following statement in response to the citations:

“Color Dynamics, Inc. has an outstanding 35 year safety record.  The company thoroughly trains all employees to avoid hazards. It has received numerous awards for doing so.

The HIOSH citation reported by the media today alleges hyper-technical violations.  The company has sound bases for contesting them all.  It expects the Hawaii Labor Relation Board to carefully weigh the basis for each.  The allegations have nothing to do with the employee falling to his death five months ago.

The HIOSH administrator simply ignores Color Dynamics’ effective accident prevention and investigation procedures.  The agency head blames the company for not filling out daily reports required by the general contractor.  She overlooks the state of art fall protection that the company trained all employees about, repeatedly, for several hours each year.  That training included all relevant resources published by HIOSH and GCA, as well and lengthy in person instruction provided at Honolulu Community College to decedent and other employees.

The administrator and other inexperienced bureaucrats responsible for the unfounded allegations dwell on the condition of ropes and electrical cords not in use and in storage, as well as insist on signatures that were not required.  They suggest without any basis that each employee must carry his/her own water bottle constantly, rather than use the restroom and faucets available for them to use.

The former employee inexplicably fell to his death from an area not controlled by the company, where he was not supposed to be working or walking, after receiving extensive training to carefully avoid the very hazard involved.  The unsupported implications that anything the company did or did not do contributed to his death, or that the HIOSH allegations suggest that it might have, are false and defamatory.”

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call HIOSH at (808) 586-9116. Click here for more information.

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