NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – May 1, 2020 – Blue Harvest Fisheries is committed to the safety and well-being of its employees, and to the safety and quality of its seafood products, above all else. In addition to existing precautions the company initiated, which were in compliance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and other Federal agencies, Blue Harvest has implemented a series of comprehensive new precautionary measures. Additionally, although there is no evidence that any employees have contracted the COVID-19 virus on the job, Blue Harvest will offer its hourly workers an additional $1.00-per-hour hazard pay for the duration of the state of emergency as declared by the Governor of Massachusetts.
When Blue Harvest learned that two employees had tested positive for COVID-19 over an 11-day period, having apparently contracted the illness outside of the workplace, Blue Harvest voluntarily reported this information to the New Bedford Board of Health. Prior to this, Blue Harvest had already created and began implementing a 25-point protocol for COVID-19 based on emerging best practices, and had arranged for an independent company to conduct deep cleaning and disinfecting even before the anticipated closure order arrived.
The company closed at the end of the workday last Thursday. Working around the clock over the weekend, Blue Harvest staff built 3-sided plexiglass separations to improve social distancing measures on the plant floor. Operations resumed as normal on Monday.
The plexiglass barriers are just one of the steps Blue Harvest has taken to improve safety and minimize potential COVID-19 exposures. The company is regularly disinfecting common surfaces, and now does regular deep cleans of the entire facility. All employees are required to wear facemasks and face shields on the production floor, and the company takes the temperature of all employees twice a day, before entering in the morning and before leaving at night. Common areas have been rearranged to observe proper social distancing measures.
The company has established a dedicated COVID-19 team that meets twice a week to review the latest information, ensure all safety protocols and best practices are in place, and to update plans as new information becomes available.
The full list of safety precautions implemented at Blue Harvest is included below:
- Hiring individuals to continuously wipe down all common touch points;
- Propping open all non-critical doors so there is less need to touch surfaces;
- Installing a covered exterior hand washing sink at plant entrance points with soap, hand sanitizer and paper towel dispensers;
- Installing additional hand sanitizer pumps throughout the facility;
- Marking the appropriate social distancing lines at the punch clocks, cafeterias and exterior handwashing stations, etc.;
- Opening up a second cafeteria along with one-way entrance and exit flows to minimize contact;
- Staggering breaks and lunch times to minimize the number of employees in the cafeterias and restrooms at one time and to increase physical space;
- Arranging seating in the cafeterias so there is one chair per table;
- Taking the temperatures of employees prior to entering the building and again at the end of the day;
- Eliminating the food trucks that visit other workplaces and adding an additional vending machine with meal availability;
- Requiring masks be worn in all locations and face shields are required on the production floors;
- Establishing a procedure for wiping down/sanitizing hand jacks and fork trucks;
- Upgrading production lines with 3-sided plexiglass partitions to create separation between workers and prevent droplet migration;
- Posting signage throughout the plant in multiple languages;
- Fogging and deep cleaning the building with anti-viral cleaners, in addition to the regular daily sanitation.
The company has also provided each employee with outside-of-the-workplace safety guidance, based on CDC guidelines, to help keep themselves and their families safe.
About Blue Harvest Fisheries
Blue Harvest Fisheries is a leading supplier of premium quality seafood sustainably harvested from MSC certified fisheries in the U.S. The company operates its own fleet of scallop and groundfish vessels as well as offload facilities in Newport News, VA and Fairhaven, MA and an SQF certified waterfront manufacturing facility in New Bedford, MA. The Blue Harvest Fisheries product line features sea scallops, Pacific cod, haddock, ocean perch (Acadian redfish) and Atlantic pollock (saithe). The company also offers swordfish and tuna from approved third-party vessels. Blue Harvest Fisheries products are sold fresh and frozen under the Blue Harvest brand to leading restaurants, wholesalers and distributors across the U.S. and abroad. The company also offers custom processing and is a supplier of private label products to retailers and food service distributors. For more information visit www.blueharvestfisheries.com.
Stove Boat Communications