HONOLULU— The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ (DLIR) Hawai‘i Occupational Safety and Health Division (HIOSH) has completed its investigation of the April 8, 2011 Waikele bunker explosion that claimed the lives of five employees of Donaldson Enterprises, Inc. (DEI) and has proposed penalties in the amount of $415,200. Donaldson Enterprises, Inc. will have an opportunity to contest the penalties.
A state, county and federal multi-agency team was formed to investigate this incident because of the various jurisdictional issues and the magnitude of the event. The explosion occurred on the morning of April 8, 2011, as employees of Donaldson Enterprises, Inc. were taking apart commercial grade cake-style fireworks within Bunker A-21 at the Waikele Self Storage.
“We have concluded that there were so many unsafe working conditions and work practices that could have caused the explosion. To continue efforts to find a single cause would neither be productive nor serve our mission of assuring safe and healthful working conditions for every working person in the State,” said HIOSH Administrator Jennifer Shishido.” “At the end of our investigation, we identified eleven potential causes for the explosion, each of which carries a penalty for violating health and safety laws.”
Citations are being issued to Donaldson Enterprises, Inc. for:
1. Failure to conduct a hazard assessment on the dangers of disassembling pyrotechnic materials which may have become more shock, heat, and friction sensitive due to unknown compounds within the pyrotechnic formulation, and uncontrolled environmental conditions within the bunker such as excessive heat and humidity.
2. Failure to use bonding, grounding, and anti-static materials to control the potential of ignition by static electricity.
3. Failure to ensure that supervisors properly reinforced the training of employees in the danger of using metal tools, work practices that may create friction, and other sources of ignition while working with pyrotechnic contents that are sensitive to heat, shock, and friction.
4. Failure to provide at least two exit routes were not available to permit prompt evacuation of employees during an emergency.
5. Failure to store flammable liquids away from exits or areas normally used for the safe egress of people.
6. Failure to separate the work involving pyrotechnic materials from other explosives within the bunker.
7. Failure to provide non-ferrous, non-sparking tools while working with explosive pyrotechnic materials.
8. Failure to control the presence of combustible materials such as empty packing materials and rubbish in an area where pyrotechnic materials were being separated and maintained.
9. Failure to prohibit spark producing devices, i.e. employees’ cars, within 50 feet of the bunker entrance where pyrotechnic materials were being disassembled and maintained.
10. Failure to erect appropriate warning signs on access roads leading to the bunker where pyrotechnic materials were present and being disassembled.
11. Failure to conduct a hazard assessment to determine the appropriate personal protective equipment to be worn by employees while performing work with explosive pyrotechnic materials.
12. Failure to require employees to don appropriate personal protective equipment
Although HIOSH’s investigation is complete, other agencies–including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Health Response Team–are awaiting additional information such as: laboratory tests on the exact composition and the sensitivity to ignition of the pyrotechnic materials present in the bunker at the time of the incident; and metallurgical testing of the various tools used in the operation such as PVC cutters, lopping shears, scissors and metal wire cutters.
“While our thoughts remain with the families of the five men lost in this tragedy, we urge all employers who work with or may work with pyrotechnic materials to take appropriate actions to prevent any similar incident,” said DLIR Director Dwight Takamine.
For more information about the regulation and appropriate handling of pyrotechnic materials and other explosives, visit http://hawaii.gov/labor/hiosh/standardsreformatted/standard_pt3.shtml.
For more information about HIOSH, visit http://hawaii.gov/labor/hiosh.
Honolulu – Governor Neil Abercrombie, Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, Board of Education member Keith Amemiya and 2011 Womens’ World Surf Champion Carissa Moore will announce the future of surfing in public high school athletics.
What: Announcement of surfing as a sport in Hawai’i’s public high schools
When: Monday, October 3, 2011; 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Where: 2434 Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki by the Banyan Tree
WAILUKU, Maui, Hawai`i – County of Maui residents are urged to fill out the 2011 County of Maui Community Survey, which can be found online at www.mauicounty.gov/communitysurvey.
Results from the survey will help the Budget Office staff to properly prioritize County projects and funding. The survey covers all the County’s public services and asks whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with them.
“This is a way for County residents to get the most for their money,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa. “Our tax dollars go toward funding police and fire, sewer and water, garbage pickup and other services so this is your chance to help us run a more effective, efficient and responsive government.”
According to Budget Director Sandy Baz, the survey is an extension of the Community Budget Meetings which are being held all over Maui County. Baz said the Community Budget Meetings started about a decade ago and that it’s about time to expand the County’s outreach to the community via this survey.
“This is just another way for Maui’s citizens to give us their input,” Baz said. “We want everyone’s voice to be heard.”
The 39-question survey can also be faxed or mailed to those without internet access. To request a printed copy of the survey call the Maui County Mayor’s Office at 270-7855.
Copies of the survey will also be brought to the remaining Community Budget Meetings listed here:
Monday, October 3, 2011
6:00 p.m. Budget Meeting
Kihei Community Center
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
6:00 p.m. Budget Meeting
Paia Community Center
Monday, October 24, 2011
6:00 p.m. Budget Meeting
Lahaina Civic Center
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
6:00 p.m. Budget Meeting
Hannibal Tavares Comm. Center
Thursday, October 27, 2011
5:45 p.m. CDBG Public Hearing
6:00 p.m. Budget Meeting
Velma Santos Comm. Center
For the central north Pacific, between 140°W and 180.
A compact area of low pressure located about 575 miles south- southeast of the Big Island is moving west at 10 to 15 mph. Thunderstorm coverage and organization has been limited, and upper level winds are only marginally conducive for further development. There is a low chance, near 10 percent, of this system becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours.
Elsewhere, no tropical cyclones are expected through Sunday afternoon.
WAILUKU, Maui, Hawai`i – Mayor Alan Arakawa is pleased to announce that the County of Maui has reached a resolution regarding the purchase of $32 million in student loan auction rate securities from Merrill Lynch.
As part of the agreement with Corporation Counsel and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc, Merrill Lynch has agreed to buy back the County’s full investment. The issue has been ongoing ever since the County filed claims against Merrill Lynch with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) along with a lawsuit against Merrill Lynch in federal court in February 2010.
“This resolution means the County can reinvest these funds short-term and later use them for our Capital Improvement Projects,” said Mayor Arakawa. “This is all thanks to the hard work of Corporation Counsel Pat Wong along with support from Finance Director Danny Agsalog.
“We have a good team here and I’m proud of their work regarding this matter.”
Wong said the following terms were reached as part of the agreement:
1) Merrill Lynch will buy at full par value, and with no loss to the principal amount of the County’s investment, the $32 million of SLARS remaining in the County’s Merrill Lynch account.
2) Merrill Lynch will pay the County of Maui $44,500.00 for the realized losses that resulted from the September 2009 sale of $12.2 million of SLARS at a discount to par value.
3) The County has released all pending claims against Merrill Lynch and any affiliated entities or individuals in connection with its investment in SLARS, and Merrill Lynch admits no wrongdoing.
4) Merrill Lynch and County of Maui will each be responsible for their own fees and costs in this matter, except Merrill Lynch will be responsible for the total amount of any FINRA fees and costs not already assessed by FINRA.
“I’d like to thank Merrill Lynch and their attorneys for helping us to resolve this matter once and for all,” Wong said. “Their cooperation saved taxpayers time and money.”
Finance Director Agsalog added that “The County’s objectives in this case have always been safety and liquidity.
“I’m glad that we can put this in the past so that we can plan for the future.”
HANOI, Vietnam >> A tropical storm whacked into Vietnam today, forcing 20,000 people to be evacuated, as the Philippines braced for a new typhoon and several Asian countries reeled under floods after some of the wildest weather this summer.
Prolonged monsoon flooding, typhoons and storms have wreaked untold havoc in the region, leaving more than 600 people dead or missing in India, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, China, Pakistan and Vietnam in the last four months. In India alone, the damage is estimated to be worth $1 billion, with the worst-hit state of Orissa accounting for $726 million.
Several studies suggest an intensification of the Asian summer monsoon rainfall with increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, the state-run Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology said. Still, it is not clear that this is entirely because of climate change, especially in India, it said.
After pummeling the Philippines and China this week, Typhoon Nesat was downgraded to a tropical storm just before churning into northern Vietnam on Friday afternoon with sustained wind speeds of up to 73 mph, according to the national weather forecasting center.
Heavy rains were reported in northern and central areas. Warnings were issued for flash floods and landslides in mountainous regions, and for flooding in low-lying areas. High winds whipped through the streets of the capital, Hanoi.
The storm had flooded streets across the southern Chinese island of Hainan on Thursday, forcing about 300,000 people to flee their homes, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said.
On Tuesday, Nesat bashed the Philippines, killing at least 43 people and leaving 30 others missing after causing one of the worst floods in decades in the capital, Manila.
The damage was estimated at $91 million, and preparations were already under way for Typhoon Nalgae, which was headed toward the northern Philippines. It’s expected to pack winds of 87 mph and gusts of 105 mph, gaining more strength before making landfall early Saturday and dumping heavy rains, forecasters said.
“The ground is still supersaturated and it cannot absorb more water,” said Graciano Yumul, the Philippines’ weather bureau chief. “This will just flow down to rivers and towns, and there is a big possibility that landslides, flash flooding and flooding could occur.”
At least four towns in the rice-growing province of Bulacan, north of Manila, remained submerged two days after Typhoon Nesat had moved on.
Thousands sought shelter on rooftops with no food, water and electricity, while a procession of other residents waded in chest-deep water down main roads to reach dry land.
“We have nowhere to go,” Celenia Espino of Calumpit township said from her home, which was filled with knee-deep murky water. “We have no means of transportation out of here.”
Disaster officials in Vietnam said fish and shrimp farmers were moved to safe areas along the northern coast. About 4,000 people, mostly the elderly, women and children, were also evacuated in three coastal districts in Nam Dinh province, said disaster official Tran Xuan Ngoc.
The storm comes on top of seasonal flooding in Vietnam’s southern Mekong Delta, where eight people were killed in four provinces this week, according to the national floods and storms control department. In addition, a woman and her grandchild were killed Thursday when their home was buried by a landslide in the northern province of Yen Bai, it said.
Other parts of Asia have not been spared either.
Two typhoons hit Japan this month, leaving at least 106 people dead or missing.
In Thailand, the disaster department said 188 people have been killed and three others remain missing after a series of tropical storms hit the country since late July. Nearly 2 million people have been affected by floods and mudslides, and 122 roads are impassable.
Heavy rains in Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second-biggest city, caused the Ping River to burst its banks and flooded the railway station, forcing a temporary shutdown in train service to northern Thailand. Meanwhile, 122 highways and roads nationwide are impassable.
More rainfall was forecast in northern Thailand for the weekend.
In the east Indian state of Orissa, monsoon flooding following severe drought earlier this year has killed at least 81 people since August, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. The state is asking for about $726 million in federal funds to help cope with the destruction.
India’s government says 18 million people have been affected by floods in northern Uttar Pradesh state, where 168 people have been killed since June and the damage is estimated to be worth $285 million. Flooding has also hit the eastern states of Bihar and West Bengal, and Assam in the northeast.
In Pakistan, monsoon rains since early August have flooded large parts of southern Sindh province, which is still recovering from extreme flooding from a year ago. The government says 7 million people have been affected.
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