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Close Call at OCI Fortune

February 6, 2019

Close Call at OCI Fortune

Exposure to Carbon Monoxide hospitalizes 4 workers.

On January 15th, four workers at the OCI plant in Fortune were taken to hospital with what was identified as carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

All four workers were released from hospital on the same day but one continued to suffer from CO symptoms into the second day.

The Union alerted the Occupational Health and Safety Inspections Branch, and Officers were dispatched to the plant.

Workers were informed OHS officers issued a Stop Work Order on a poorly functioning propane forklift spewing excessive exhaust. The plant was also found to be poorly ventilated and did not have a proper carbon monoxide detector to protect workers lives. A total of nine safety directives were issued to the Company.

“This incident shows that despite the current OHS regulations and advances in technology readily available to reduce or eliminate workplace hazards, many companies are content to ignore regulations and continue to endanger the lives of NL workers,” said Industrial Retail Offshore Director Greg Pretty.

“The seafood processing industry still has a lot of work to do to ensure their employees and our members come home safely at the end of each shift,” said Pretty. “Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and it was just luck and luck only the workers had the wherewithal to escape with their lives.”

FFAW reminds all Industrial Locals to double check ammonia and CO detectors and most importantly ensure you have a functioning OHS Committee. Companies ignoring safety regulations should be reported and OHS inspections ordered without delay.

“Each year we see accidental deaths occurring in residences, cars and cabins as a result of CO poisoning. It’s unacceptable to have a CO poisoning in an industrial setting when laws and regulations, which have been in place for decades, exist to prevent these outrageous incidents,” concluded Pretty.

The Union intends to follow up with Occupational Health and Safety Enforcement Officers on this incident and request an audit on CO protection in our members’ workplaces.