Temperature, air quality, dampness and noise are some of the causes of the high number of sick days in the seafood processing industry. The results of a three-year survey of the northern Norway's processing industry by the University Hospital of North Norway (UNN) clearly indicates that changes must be made.
A total of 1,800 employees from 118 processing plants were interviewed. A number of surveys on temperature, air quality and noise levels were carried out. The statistical material explains the high number of sick days in the industry, reports Fiskeribladet.
Thirty per cent of the interviewees said they were cold at work. Open doorways, dampness, great temperature differences between floor and roof cause chilly conditions. The average fillet worker has a finger tip temperature of 17 degrees Celsius. Many fillet workers complain of numb fingers.
Repetitive strain is another complaint with 75 per cent of the women surveyed reporting neck and shoulder problems and 55 per cent backaches. These figures are much higher than the rest of the population.
The use of diesel and gas operated fork trucks lead to lower air quality. Five out of seven surveyed plants had higher CO concentrations than recommended. Freezer warehouses had up 10 to 11 times higher CO concentrations than recommended.
The repercussions from this report are expected to have an impact on working conditions in the traditionally more progressive Norwegian seafood processing industry, but whether or not it impacts in other regions has to be seen.