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Carbon monoxide sickens food processing workers

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By Jenni Spinner+

Last updated on 17-Jun-2014 at 12:23 GMT

Nearly two dozen workers at Keybrand Foods in Ontario have been sickened by carbon monoxide fumes. Photo: Google
Nearly two dozen workers at Keybrand Foods in Ontario have been sickened by carbon monoxide fumes. Photo: Google

Nearly two dozen staff at Keybrand Foods were taken to hospital after a carbon monoxide leak at the processing facility.

People working at Keybrand Foods (a producer specializing in prepackaged salads, deli trays, and fruit bowls) began falling ill during the business day on Friday. Doctors examined and treated 21 injured workers from the Kitchener, Ontario facility in Canada.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

Paul Hosek, medical director for the Intensive Care Unit at the nearby Grand River Hospital, reported the workers exhibited signs of acute carbon monoxide exposure.

In this case it was mostly headache, nausea and chest pain,” he said.

The affected employees were reportedly connected to oxygen and put under observation at the hospital. Emergency crews showed up to the plant to investigate the cause.

Ventilation problem

According to Doug Voisin, Kitchener Fire Platoon Chief, investigators suspect the carbon monoxide leak may be connected to a problem with the ventilation system which caused an increase in carbon monoxide levels inside the plant.

It was pretty clear the damper had fallen off and all these toxic gases had been emitted back in the building,” he said.

Approximately 40 employees still in the plant were evacuated, and the facility was closed. Representatives with the Ministry of Labour and officials with the Technical Standards and Safety Authority are taking part in the investigation. Voisin added, fire officials will conduct air quality tests at the plant in the future, to ensure the leak doesn’t present problems again.

Keybrand Food officials could not be reached for comment. FoodProductionDaily will monitor the situation and provide updates as soon as they become available.

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