Shucking machines shut down in Nova Scotia
Clearwater Seafoods has been ordered to shut down its new automatic scallop shucking machines on two of its Nova Scotia based factory freezer trawlers after crews complained about nosebleeds and coughing up blood.
Crewmen told the province's Department of Labor the machines on board Atlantic Preserver and Atlantic Guardian made them sick.
"We received a number of worker complaints that they were suffering from coughing up blood, nosebleeds, headaches that sort of thing," acting director of investigations Gregory Green told CBC News.
"It only became prevalent once the shucking machines were on board and operational. That led us to believe there may be a problem," Green said.
He said saws on the machines generate a fine dust, which mixes with water creating "a visible cloud in the work space."
There is a further concern that contaminants are vented into crew living spaces.
On Friday, Nova Scotia's Occupational Health and Safety division issued stop work orders to Clearwater, shutting down the machines.
The company has until 5 November to improve the exhaust system and develop a respiratory protection program for the crew. It has until 19 November to take air quality samples while all the machines are operating.
Clearwater said it's complying.
"We do believe we can install ventilation around this equipment that will meet the OHS requirements," said Christine Penney, the company's vice president of public affairs.
"We've immediately ceased the operation of this equipment to re-evaluate and address the concerns that OHS has raised."