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OSHA & CDC Release Additional Guidance on Meat & Poultry Plants

From the CDC:

Meat and poultry processing facilities are a component of the critical infrastructure within the Food and Agriculture Sectorpdf iconexternal icon.  CDC’s Critical Infrastructure Guidance advises that critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community.  All meat and poultry processing facilities developing plans for continuing operations in the setting of COVID-19 occurring among workers or in the surrounding community should (1) work directly with appropriate state and local public health officials and occupational safety and health professionals; (2) incorporate relevant aspects of CDC guidance, including but not limited to this document and the CDC’s Critical Infrastructure Guidance; and (3) incorporate guidance from other authoritative sources or regulatory bodies as needed.

Create a COVID-19 assessment and control plan

A qualified workplace coordinator should be identified who will be responsible for COVID-19 assessment and control planning. All workers in the facility should know how to contact the identified coordinator with any COVID-19 concerns. Infection control and occupational safety and health plans should apply to anyone entering or working in the plant (e.g., all facility workers, contractors, and others).

Administrative Controls

Employers should do the following to promote social distancing:

  • Encourage single-file movement with a six-foot distance between each worker through the facility, where possible.

  • Designate workers to monitor and facilitate distancing on processing floor lines.

  • Stagger break times or provide temporary break areas and restrooms to avoid groups of workers during breaks. Workers should maintain at least six feet of distance from others at all times, including on breaks.

  • Stagger workers’ arrival and departure times to avoid congregations of workers in parking areas, locker rooms, and near time clocks.

  • Provide visual cues (e.g., floor markings, signs) as a reminder to workers to maintain social distancing.

  • Encourage workers to avoid carpooling to and from work, if possible

    • If carpooling or using company shuttle vehicles is a necessity for workers, the following control practices should be used:

      • Limit the number of people per vehicle as much as possible. This may mean using more vehicles.

      • Encourage employees to maintain social distancing as much as possible.

      • Encourage employees to use hand hygiene before entering the vehicle and when arriving at the destination.

      • Encourage employees in a shared van or car space to wear cloth masks.

      • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces after each carpool or shuttle trip (e.g., door handles, handrails, seatbelt buckles).

      • Encourage employees to follow coughing and sneezing pdf iconetiquette when in the vehicle.

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