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FFAW Calls for More Stringent Fish Plant Inspections

May 23, 2019


FFAW Calls for More Stringent Fish Plant Inspections

A recent incident at the Ocean Choice International (OCI) plant in Fortune underscores the urgent need for improved Occupational Health and Safety regulations in fish processing plants. Workers in these plants face some of the highest incidences of workplace injury and disease of any industry in our province.

“A spat of destructive fires, carbon monoxide leaks and exposures to ammonia gas have left many plants workers around Newfoundland and Labrador scrambling for their lives,” said FFAW-Unifor Industrial Director Greg Pretty.

Pretty points to a recent situation at OCI Fortune where workers barely escaped with their lives as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Part of the problem is that there appears to be two tiers of worker safety. It seems processing companies enjoy safety margins and regimes that are much less stringent than their urban counterparts. Even modalities of treatment can be different in rural communities where workers are sent back to work almost immediately following a carbon monoxide or gas leak,” explains Pretty.

FFAW-Unifor has been calling on the provincial government to implement a safety sector council for processing plants for over 5 years. Employers have refused to sign onto a sector specific council that would address the unique needs of processing safety, and the provincial government can do much more to protect workers and ensure court charges are laid against negligent plant owners.

“Coupled with unbridled shellfish asthma and rampant repetitive strain injuries in a number of these plants, along with the recent rash of fires and gas leaks, you’re left with medieval workplaces that are going backward instead of forward with worker safety,” Pretty says.

FFAW-Unifor is calling on the provincial government to conduct a safety blitz on all operating plants this season to ensure workers are safe and fish plant owners are following the laws of the province.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Courtney Glode
FFAW-Unifor Communications