Federal Agency Cites Company in Maui Crane Death

April 24, 2013

Federal regulators want to fine a heavy equipment rental and repair company $70,000 for safety violations after a Maui worker was crushed and killed by a crane.

Ronald Nakasone, 62, of Paia, was crushed under a crane he was operating for his employer, Hawthorne Pacific Corp. in Kahului in October.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for 13 serious alleged violations.

Company representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

Outriggers – mechanical legs that extend out beyond the base of a crane to stabilize the truck-mounted crane – weren’t extended, allowing it to tip, an inspection found. The truck crane had also been out of service for more than six months and had not had a complete inspection before use, OSHA said, and that the company also failed to properly tag keys for the truck crane as “do not use” because a warning indicator wasn’t functioning. Inspectors also found other violations, including equipment not in good operating condition and machines not properly guarded to prevent amputation or other injuries.

“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.”

The company has 15 days to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings. An administrative law judge will make a final determination on the proposed fines totaling $70,000, Lemke said.

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