I have never been a huge seafood enthusiast. I like shrimp and lobster tail, and will eat tuna fish and mild whitefish, but I rarely pine for seafood. I'm more of a red meat kind of guy. Maybe that is a good thing, because it sounds like harvesting and preparing traditional seafood is just downright hazardous.

About a year and a half ago I wrote about a 62 year old California worker who perished inside a Steamer Machine at a facility that made Bumble Bee Tuna. No one was sure at the time how he wound up there, but the fact that he was cooked to death was fairly apparent at the time. This week we learn of another seafood related tragedy, this time in New Bedford, MA. A man in a seafood processing plant died inside what is known as a “Seafood Shucking machine”.


 Police say the 35 year old man, who was an 18 year veteran of Sea Watch International , was cleaning the machine when he “became entangled in a rotary turbine engine.” The accident happened on the graveyard shift, at about 1:30 in the morning. It apparently took rescuers nearly an hour to free him, having to dismantle the machine in the process. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration has sent an inspector to the plant to investigate.  The plant cleared an OSHA inspection in 2012, but did encounter problems in 2011. OSHA discovered “several serious safety violations, including inadequate emergency training for employees dealing with hazardous waste and insufficient respiratory protection for some workers.” The company paid $4,675 in fines and fixed the violations.

Danger seems apparent throughout the life cycle of seafood preparation. To begin with, fishermen face many dangers catching the little critters we love to eat. The offloading and processing of the catch is often in equally dangerous environs. And as amply demonstrated in our two examples, the final preparations for sale can be downright fatal if proper procedures aren't followed.

Clearly seafood is hazardous to people's health. We should ban it completely, as this risk cannot be tolerated. I would be willing to make that sacrifice. It is just the kind of guy I am.

(Beef, by the way, is extraordinarily safe. I am sure no one ever gets hurt converting a cow into steak for me)

We need to protect these workers by eliminating their jobs. After all, dying in a Shucking Machine has to be a really shucky way to go.

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