A number of US meat processors, including a plant owned by Tyson Foods, have had to suspend operations in an attempt to protect staff from the coronavirus.
Tyson Foods CEO, Noel White, has issued a statement about the company’s attempt to address the coronavirus situation in the US, while remaining open.
White stated that the company are checking the vital signs of employees at regular intervals in order to find any cases of the virus as early as possible. He said: “We’re mostly using temporal thermometers but at a few locations were beginning to implement infrared temperature scanners.”
As well as this, the factory decided to cease production for an entire day, in order to facilitate cleaning and sanitizing of the area. “we’ve stepped up deep cleaning and sanitizing of our facilities, especially in employee breakrooms, locker rooms and other areas, to protect our team members.”
The company is in the process of sourcing PPE for the staff and have implemented social distancing protocol. This includes erecting dividers between workstations or increasing the space between workers on the production floor, which can involve slowing production lines.
The extent of their measures to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak is not limited to the factory floor. White said “We’re also creating more room in non-production areas. For example, at some locations, we’ve set up tents to create outdoor break rooms.”
In terms of the impact the virus has had on production, the CEO of Tyson Foods said: “Our meat and poultry plants are experiencing varying levels of production impact, due to the planned implementation of additional worker safety precautions and worker absenteeism.”
“For example, out of an abundance of caution, we have suspended operations at our Columbus Junction, Iowa, pork plant this week due to more than two dozen cases of COVID-19 involving team members at the facility.”
“In an effort to minimize the impact on our overall production, we’re diverting the livestock supply originally scheduled for delivery to Columbus Junction to some of our other pork plants in the region.”
“While these are challenging times, we remain committed to protecting our people while continuing to meet the needs of our customers and consumers across America,” he concluded.