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Hawaii Department of Labor and
830 Punchbowl Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Darwin Ching, Director
(808) 586-9099 FAX
Hawaii State OSH Plan Web
Consultation and Training Branch
Dept of Labor and Industrial Relations
830 Punchbowl Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
(808) 586-9104 FAX
Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health
COVERAGE OF PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYEES
Hawaii's public sector jurisdiction includes only two types of government state
and county. There is one state government with offices on all 5 major islands,
and 4 county governments. State government has an average annual employment of
61,228, which is approximately 12% of all employees included in Hawaii's
jurisdiction. The four county governments combined total 17,000 employees or
3.4% of the total work force covered by the Hawaii state plan. As an 18(e) state
plan state, Hawaii is required to provide an enforcement safety and health
program for public sector employees equally as effective as that for the private
All standards that apply to the private sector, equally apply to the public
sector. In addition, although Hawaii's jurisdiction does not include private
sector maritime, Hawaii has just recently adopted the maritime and ship building
federal standards, 29 CFR 1915, 1917, and 1918 which will apply to public sector
workers performing cargo handling or working around marine terminals, etc.
Hawaii has an advisory committee comprised of both public and private sector
employers and union representatives who advise the program on all areas of the
program -- standards, enforcement issues, strategic plans, training, outreach.
The Hawaii Occupational Safety & Health (HIOSH) Advisory Committee has two
public sector employers representing the State and one county government, and
includes a public sector union representative. Public sector representatives
often offer insight into the unique problems of compliance for county
governments with limited resources.
Public sector employers are penalized the same as private sector employers, with
penalty payment coming from programs' money and going to the Occupational Safety
and Health Training and Assistance Fund which is funded solely by enforcement
penalties. The beneficiary of the fund, however, are employers, both public and
private, who receive additional outreach, training, and compliance assistance.
Approximately 5% of all inspections are conducted in the public sector. Most are
as a result of complaints filed by state and county workers. General schedule
inspections are based on the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data which helps
to identify types of government activities with the highest injury and illness
rates. That data is matched to state OSHA Data Initiative data to verify the
establishments with the highest rates.
In FY 2000, emphasis was placed on local government because of their high injury
and illness rates. While partnership was offered to all four counties, only two
accepted partnership. These two counties were provided consultation assistance
to develop programs, train county staff under train-the-trainer programs, and
conduct on- site visits. The two counties who chose not to participate received
traditional enforcement inspections directed at their highest hazard departments
public works, police, and fire.
In FY 2001, following an increase in injury and illness rate for state
government, primarily in the construction area, state government divisions with
employees who work on or in construction were selected for inspections. Letters
were sent to the agency heads asking them to review their current safety and
health program and improve where necessary and also extended an invitation to
participate in training. Those that accepted received training and general
safety and health program assistance. Those that did not respond have either
received or will receive traditional enforcement inspections.
One of the major problems with local government compliance is the lack of
continuity in responsibility and accountability with each change in the Mayor's
office. Over the past 10 years, HIOSH has worked to encourage county governments
to create and staff positions with oversight in overall safety and health for
the county with civil service positions. During the 2000 elections, the voters
in Hawaii County agreed to the creation of a civil service position for safety
and health. Previously the position was appointed. With this change, 3 out of 4
county governments now have civil service positions responsible for safety and
health. Other changes we have encouraged are the inclusion of safety and health
responsibilities in performance evaluations for supervisors, and safety councils
to share and coordinate training and periodic inspection responsibilities
thereby levering the cost for each unit, division or department.
HIOSH provides free on-site consultation to public sector employers upon
request. The services include safety and health program assessment and
assistance, hazard identification and control, and informal and formal training
of employers and their employees.
Consultations include an assessment of employers' current safety and health
program and recommendations for improving it and an appraisal of mechanical
systems, work practices, and environmental hazards with employee exposures.
Employers may request program and hazard training and educational services at or
away from the work site.
The employers' only obligation is to correct all serious hazards and potential
safety and health violations found during the consultations.
Outreach and Training for Public Sector Employers and
The Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Law, Chapter 396, Hawaii Revised
Statutes (HRS), established a special fund known as the occupational safety and
health training and assistance fund into which up to $500,000 in fines,
interest, and penalties collected are deposited in each fiscal year. The fund
may be used for additional state occupational safety and health consultants,
occupational safety and health training programs, and Department of Labor and
Industrial Relations sponsored safety and health conferences.
HIOSH has used the special fund to pay for one occupational safety and health
consultant to provide training and outreach to employers and employees,
including those in the public sector, to fund an occupational safety and health
training program for small business at a community college, and to cosponsor the
Governor's Biennial Pacific Rim Safety and Health Conferences.
Public sector employers and employees have benefited from the special fund as
to Attend Safety and Health Conferences
In 1998 and 2000, HIOSH used some of the occupational safety and health
training and assistance fund monies to provide "scholarships" to public
sector employers to defray their costs of attending the Governor's Biennial
Pacific Rim Safety and Health Conference.
Cooperative Compliance Program
With the injury/illness incidence rate for local government higher than the
State rate for all industries, including State and local government, year
after year, HIOSH offered the mayors of the four counties an opportunity to
participate in a cooperative compliance program in 2000. The counties that
participated in the program first received formal training on safety and
health programs from the consultant funded by the special fund, then
received on-site consultations from other consultants funded by HIOSH's
public sector consultation program. The counties that participated in the
cooperative compliance program were exempted from programmed compliance
inspections in 2000.
In 2001, HIOSH made a similar offer to the administrators of State
department divisions that oversee government construction because the
injury/illness incidence rate for State government construction was more
than twice that of the State rate for all industries in 1998. The State
department divisions that decided to participate in the cooperative
compliance program were provided formal training on safety and health
programs by the consultant funded by the special fund. Only 30 percent of
the State department divisions that participate in the cooperative
compliance program will be selected for programmed compliance inspections in