OSHA cites Halekulani for 17 safety violations

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has cited Halekulani Corp. with 17 safety violations after a routine inspection of the Waikiki hotel - and hints that it suspects other hotels may also have violations were they to be inspected.

"The hotel industry is one of the biggest employers in Hawaii, and it's critical that owners and operators have strong safety and health programs," said Galen Lemke, director of OSHA's Honolulu Area Office.

OSHA called 14 of the violations serious, which in agency parlance means the potential for death or serious injury. Those violations, OSHA said Tuesday, involve personal protective equipment use and availability, fire extinguisher maintenance and inspection, and the provision of appropriate equipment for electrical work.

The announcement said OSHA also found that the property "failed to provide training in hazardous waste operations and emergency response standards." Three violations considered less serious involved a lack of labeling and access to electrical panels and labels on gas cylinders.

"Halekulani has an obligation to protect its staff and ensure a safe working environment," said Lemke.

Halekulani has 15 days to respond formally to OSHA. It can respond by complying, contesting the findings, or meeting with Lemke. Penalties could add up to $49,000, OSHA said.

Halekulani has more than 450 rooms and more than 800 employees. It regularly wins a place on national and international lists of the world's best hotels.

Tuesday Afternoon Halekulani released the following statement:

On April 26, 2013, Halekulani received a written notification detailing the results of an inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA"), which took place on January 16, 2013. All of the issues brought up at the January inspection were immediately addressed for rectification. Halekulani is working to clarify and address any other citations noted in the subsequent April notification.

Said Peter Shaindlin, Chief Operating Officer of Halekulani Corporation, "There is nothing of greater importance, nor that we take more seriously, than the safety and well-being of our guests and our staff, which will always be our unconditional priority."

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