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US Issues COVID-19 Safety Guidance for Meat Processors

April 27, 2020

4 Min Read
US Issues COVID-19 Safety Guidance for Meat Processors
OSHA and CDC have jointly issued new interim COVID-19 safety guidance for meatpacking and meat processing operations. Image courtesy of Pixabay

The US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released joint coronavirus-related interim guidance for meatpacking and meat processing workers and employers – including those involved in beef, pork and poultry operations. The guidance includes recommended actions employers can take to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

“As essential workers, those in the meatpacking and processing industries need to be protected from coronavirus for their own safety and health,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “OSHA's newest guidance document outlines steps employers can take to provide a safe and healthy workplace for workers in the meatpacking and processing industries.”

The coronavirus has affected many meat and poultry processing facility workers in plants in several US states. While the meat products these workers handle do not expose them to the coronavirus, close contact with coworkers and supervisors may contribute to their potential exposures.

The interim guidance from OSHA and the CDC includes information regarding:

- Cleaning of shared meatpacking and processing tools;

- Screening employees for the coronavirus before they enter work facilities;

- Managing workers who are showing symptoms of the coronavirus;

- Implementing appropriate engineering, administrative, and work practice controls;

- Using appropriate personal protective equipment; and

- Practicing social distancing at the workplace.

Also this month, Powder & Bulk Solids reported that OSHA published an alert listing safety tips employers can follow to help protect manufacturing workers from exposure to coronavirus. The agency also published Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, a document aimed at helping workers and employers learn about ways to protect themselves and their workplaces during the ongoing pandemic.

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