Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health (HIOSH) inspectors are handing out extremely high fines for violations in Hawaii compared to the rest of the nation.
“Compared to average fines and penalties nationwide, fines in Hawaii have been nearly 600% higher since 2018,” says simplicityHR Director of Risk Management John Fielding.
“HIOSH is classifying even the smallest violations as very serious. One local business received a $7,000 fine for a cracked electrical socket cover.”
Lockout-tagout procedures are also coming under increased scrutiny. This is especially relevant for businesses where machinery is on site but applies to any energized equipment, including air conditioning, refrigeration, and fire prevention systems.
“We’ve had reports of fines up to $12,000 for failure to have a proper lockout-tagout program in place,” says Fielding.
These and other fines appear to be handed out regardless of the seriousness of the infraction, the client’s awareness of the issue, or whether it is a first-time citation.
If HIOSH comes knocking, are you prepared?
In the past, Hawaii businesses may have encountered more easy-going HIOSH enforcement. Owners were often given warnings and a chance to fix the issue before being cited. This is apparently no longer the case.
Increased penalties for occupational safety violations went into effect at the federal level on January 24, 2019. Meanwhile, HIOSH has added more inspectors who are doing more random inspections than in previous years. One of the easiest ways to keep costs low is by ensuring your workplace is safe and compliant with the law.
Business owners may not know, that if a HIOSH inspector shows up at your business for a surprise inspection, you can let them in or you can defer on the inspection. “Our safety director is not available at the moment, can we set up a meeting at a later date?” should do it.
simplicityHR clients should then contact our Safety & Risk Management Team to help ensure your business is inspection-ready.
Not a client? Find out how simplicityHR, Hawaii’s most trusted human resources company, can help you avoid unexpected monetary penalties. Our experienced Safety & Risk Management Team is the best in the state and helps keep tens of thousands of local businesses safe and up-to-date on the latest safety training and legal requirements.