WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. 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 U.S. 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.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.