A new employee of a Maui zip-line course was trying to capture a customer coming in from the previous platform when she fell 125 feet into a ravine. The zip-line customer's momentum pulled both Patricia Rabellizsa and another worker off the platform. Rabellizsa, who was not wearing a properly latched safety harness, held onto the customer for several minutes before losing her grip and falling to her death. Her fellow receiver was strapped in and survived when the rider's momentum pulled him from the platform.
OSHA investigators found that Rabellizsa, who’d been working at the Pi'iholo Ranch Zip-Line Course for only three days, died because of inadequate safety measures in place on the platform. The operator's policy made it optional for employees to wear restraining lanyards connected to their harnesses, which directly led to Rabellizsa's 125-foot fall into a ravine.
"When working 120 feet above a ravine, properly connected safety harnesses are absolutely mandatory, not optional," said OSHA Regional Administrator Ken Atha. "This young woman's tragic death could have been prevented had her employers valued her safety as much as they valued customer fun."
OSHA is fining the company the maximum amount allowed.
The agency is citing owner Jeff Baldwin of Baldwin Brothers LLC for $7,000 and site operator Altres Inc. for $7,000. OSHA is fining both entities because Altres Inc., a local staffing agency, has a unique amount of control over the day-to-day operations at the facility.