Candy factory ruled safe after accident
Inspectors with the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations found no violations at a Kalihi candy-making factory where an 18-month-old girl's left hand was severed.
"The conveyer system was properly guarded for the employees who work there," said James Hardway, special assistant to the director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
"There were no deficiencies within their safety management system," Hardway said.
Officials conducted a safety inspection on May 16, three days after the accident.
On May 13 the toddler's hand was caught in a conveyer belt at Menehune Mac Chocolate Center & Gift Factory. Her left hand was severed just above the wrist.
She and her family were part of a tour of the factory during a Mother's Day candy-making event, when people are allowed to make their own chocolate-covered macadamia nut candies and decorated boxes. Monetary donations from participants benefited the Hawaii Children's Cancer Foundation.
The girl's mother was with her three other children while the victim was with another person when the accident occurred. According to the company's Web site, children participating in the event are required to be at least 7 years old.
Fire crews bandaged the toddler's hand and placed it in a bag of ice to preserve it for potential reattachment. It is not known whether reattachment of her hand was successful.
A spokeswoman for the Queen's Medical Center said information could not be released on the toddler because she is a minor.
Menehune Mac was cited for five workplace violations in two random health and safety inspections conducted in February 2004 and April 2005. Three of the five were safety violations.
The three violations were for general requirements for all machines; mechanical power-transmission apparatus; and wiring methods, components and equipment for general use, based on the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration Web site.
The company, also known as Hawaiian Candies & Nuts Ltd., was fined $2,100 for the safety violations. All problems were fixed within three months from the date of inspection.
In the state's recent inspection, Hardway said the factory's equipment where the accident occurred has proper machine guards on them.
Officials at Menehune Mac could not be reached for comment. Attorney Lyle Harada, who is representing the company, also could not be reached for comment.
Chris Parsons of Becker Communications Inc. said officials at Menehune Mac are "very empathetic of what the family is going through."
"We're all in shock. It's not the kind of thing that anybody would like to see happen on their premises," Parsons said.