University of Hawaii faces heavy fines for Manoa laboratory explosion

Photo: Honolulu Fire Department
Photo: Honolulu Fire Department

The University of Hawaii is facing $115,500 in fines by the state for a laboratory explosion in Manoa that caused a researcher to lose her arm.

The Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health division (HIOSH) says the fine is a result of its investigation into the March 16 incident.

It issued one citation and 15 penalties against the university on Sept. 19, with the maximum fined for each penalty.

HIOSH spokesman Bill Kunstman says that’s because there’s a good probability that each of the violations could have led to serious injury or death.

The university will meet with division officials to clarify and discuss adjustments of the citations. It also has the option to appeal.

Independent investigators say electrostatic discharge likely caused the explosion.

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