Workplace safety for the Honolulu rail transit project remains HART’s top priority as we move ahead in completing the 20-mile alignment from Kapolei to Honolulu.

An Oct. 3 Civil Beat story (“How Safe Has the Honolulu Rail Project Been?”) rightly noted that there have been no serious injuries during our construction — and the rail project’s injury rates are well below the state and national averages. That record is the result of a proactive and diligent approach that ensures workers a safe working environment under all conditions.

We report both safety and security incidents. For that reason, of the 121 incidents and observation reports that were submitted to Civil Beat, a majority of those were related to theft, trespassing, property damage or vandalism. An “incident” can be as simple as reporting graffiti or the theft of a battery from a construction vehicle — all of those incidents are rightly reported, working in partnership with the Honolulu Police Department.

HART construction columns Kapolei  June 2014

Rail is Oahu’s costliest budget infrastructure project.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

HART is required to report every incident, regardless of its severity. Stringent reporting by all members of the construction team sets the bar high in ensuring all employees follow safety measures as required by law, with the overall goal of keeping our crews and the public safe.

Employees are encouraged to self-report, as noted in several of the reports provided to Civil Beat. This self-policing exercise reinforces proper safety protocol and helps prevent potential injuries. That’s part of our proactive approach.

There are no cutting corners when it comes to construction workplace safety. HART’s safety team and its contractors practice safety management on a daily basis. This includes written safety plans, daily inspections and supervision and ongoing safety training. In addition, any incidents related to safety are immediately addressed with corrective action to prevent recurrence.

For example, the worker referred to in the Civil Beat story who fell during scaffolding work was saved by his own diligence in wearing the required fall protection gear to prevent serious injury. The employee properly followed safety procedures enforced by HART’s safety team.

While it is important that rail be completed on time and on budget, we must ensure our workers and the traveling public get safely home to their families at the end of each workday.

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