The state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations has completed an investigation into the September 21, 2011 zip line incident that killed an employee of GoZip LLC and seriously injured another employee.
The investigation found that the tower collapsed because the soil in which the ground anchors were installed failed to withstand the load from the tower, cables and rider.
State investigators concluded that GoZip failed to take reasonable precautions to assure that the anchors could support the load.
"For zip line installers, this tragic accident demonstrates the importance of basing design and construction decisions on measurable objective information, for the safety of workers as well as the general public," said DLIR Director Dwight Takamine. "Unfortunately, this is another workplace fatality that was preventable and we share the sorrow of the family, friends, co-workers and others affected by this incident."
The Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division standards require that employers do everything reasonable and necessary to protect the life, safety, and health of employees.
The owner of GoZip is a member of the Association for Challenge Course Technology, an organization that serves the zip line industry, and served on a committee with the organization that wrote standards for installing zip line courses.
The ACCT standards require that guy systems on zip line towers, including ground anchors, be capable of supporting two times the expected load.
State officials found that GoZip did not use any objective methods to verify that the anchors it installed could support the weight of the towers, cables, and riders or that the guy system could meet the requirements of the ACCT standard.
Citations under contest by the employer include:
- Failure to do everything reasonable and necessary to protect the life, safety, and health of employees by not assuring that the ground anchors and guy cable system at Line 8 could support the loads imposed by the tower, zip lines, and weight of human riders without failure.
- Failure to assure that the side rails of an extension ladder used to provide access to the Line 7 landing tower, from which employees crossed a suspended bridge to the Line 8 takeoff tower, extended at least three feet above the edge of the landing surface.
- Failure to ensure that employees riding the zip line used helmets.