Under federal and state law, all workers have the right to a safe workplace, and no person may be forced to work in unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous conditions.

Unfortunately, there have been many instances where workers building large homes in Hawaii were found to be working in unsafe conditions.

Here are examples of OSHA rules which are often violated in home construction:

Eye and Face Protection

OSHA Standard 1926.102(a)(1) requires that all employers ensure that employees use appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards.

OSHA Standard 1926.28(a) makes it clear that employers are responsible for requiring the wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment in all operations where there is exposure to hazardous conditions. you can find out more A "monster home" builder in Pālolo was recently fined for repeated violations of this section.

Hard Hats

OSHA Standard 1926.100(a) requires that employees working in areas where there is a possible danger of head injury from impact, or from falling or flying objects, or from electrical shock and burns, shall be protected by protective helmets.

find more Workers on a multiple-home project in West Oahu were recently fined for not wearing hard hats on-site.

Foot Protection

OSHA Standard 1910.136(a) requires that all employers ensure that each affected employee uses protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, or when the use of protective footwear will protect the affected employee from an electrical hazard, such as a static-discharge or electric-shock hazard, that remains after the employer takes other necessary protective measures.

An unlicensed home improvement contractor was recently found to be wearing rubber slippers while doing demolition work.

Fall Protection

OSHA Standard 1926.501(b)(13) requires that residential construction employers generally must ensure that employees working six feet or more above lower levels use guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems. A personal fall arrest system may consist of a full body harness, a deceleration device, a lanyard, and an anchor point.

A "monster home" builder was recently fined for fall protection violations at multiple sites around urban Honolulu.

Ladder Safety

Ladders are often a source of workplace hazards. Some all-too-common occurrences in violation of OSHA Standard 1926.1053 include: using the top or top step of a stepladder as a step, not regularly inspecting ladders for defects, continuing to use ladders with structural defects, not keeping the area around the top and bottom of ladders clear, using ladders on surfaces that are not stable or level, and using ladders for purposes for which they were not designed.

A "monster home" builder in Kaimukī was recently fined thousands of dollars for ladder safety violations.

Safe Use of Equipment

OSHA requires that all heavy equipment and machinery be inspected, operated and maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions.

This photo of an overturned excavator was taken by an alert neighbor at a "monster home" site in Pālolo.

Next Steps:

If you observe unsafe conditions at a "monster home" construction site in your neighborhood, please call the Hawaiʻi Construction Alliance Monster Home Hotline at 953-7880.