New safety changes in place after deadly accident at farmers’ market

It’s been a week since that horrific accident at Kapiolani Community College, where a woman who worked at the farmers’ market was killed.

On Saturday, it was a busy morning for vendors setting up at the KCC Farmers’ Market. Many of them were prepping before the sun came up. But this time, it a little less stressful.

That’s because of the new safety measures put in place by the market’s organizer.

“What are some of the new procedures you guys have implemented today?” KHON2 asked.

“We’re better enforcing when the market begins to limit foot traffic during set up and tear down,” said Chris Manfredi, president of the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation.

Unlike in the past, the public is no longer able to get into the market before it opens. Security guards keep them off to the side until a horn blows letting them know they can go in.

Manfredi says less foot traffic during set up and tear down helps minimize risks.

“So it’s nice that you’re able to set up without all of the customers walking around?” KHON2 asked.

“Oh yeah, it’s great. If you in my shoe, you’d feel different. Oh yeah, I love it. I like it,” said Yupin Bickel, a KCC Farmers’ Market vendor. “I need time to set up in the morning because customer comes early in the morning. They have a question. And then you have to talk to them. And then it takes the time off from you to set up.”

“The other thing we want to do is give vendors an opportunity to get some help when they’re moving their vehicles,” Manfredi said.

He’s talking about “spotters,” who help vehicles navigate in and out of the parking lot.

“We had people calling out that there were cars coming through and coming around and checking that cars were going to be moved in a timely and safe fashion. And also it was a much slower and steadier set up. There was no hurry,” said Richard Barber, who works for Salts of Hawaii. “It’s not a cure-all that’s going to make the place 100 percent safe, but it’s better and we really appreciate what the management at KCC and the farmers’ market association are doing.”

The Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation says it will be implementing these new procedures at all its farmers’ markets. They said they will continue to work with their vendors and staff to make sure the market is safe for everyone.

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