Company from Waikele bunker explosion faces $415,000 fine for numerous violations

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports:

The company that employed five men killed in a fireworks bunker explosion in April could face a $415,200 fine for allowing almost a dozen unsafe working conditions and work practices that may have caused the blast, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said today.

The state reported that it identified 11 violations of health and safety laws:

The alleged violations include failure to use anti-static materials, provide ample exits, and keep employee cars, which can produce sparks, beyond 50 feet of the bunker entrance.

While the state investigation is complete, federal agencies are still awaiting lab tests on the composition of the fireworks and metallurgical testing of the tools used.

But there is no mention of the fact that the industrial activity being conducted in Waikele was not permitted under City of Honolulu zoning laws.   As we reported earlier on this site, environmental activist Carroll Cox broke the story that the City had issued a notice of violation against Ford Island Ventures, the company that leased the tunnels to Donaldson Enterprises.  Waikele Gulch became “Preservation II” zoning once the Navy decided that it would lease the land to a private company for non-military activities.   However, the Navy stepped in and told the City to drop its notice of violation because the land was still under Navy jurisdiction.   The City withdrew its notice of violation in December 2010.  Four months later, five men died because of non-permitted activity that the City and Navy allowed to occur in the Waikele tunnels.  Who is responsible for this tragic accident?

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