By Teri Danielson
Right now, your employees and customers’ safety is top priority for your food or farm business. Two stories in the news over the past week have brought home the importance of developing and implementing COVID-19 practices in the food industry workplace:
1) Oregon OSHA received over a year’s worth of workplace complaints in the past month as a result of the pandemic.
2) Several large meat packing plants in the U.S. have closed their doors as they have become hot spots for the COVID-19 virus with large numbers of employees testing positive.
With the Food Industry being considered critical infrastructure in the country, most food manufacturing facilities have remained open to ensure the nations food supply chain can meet the demand. The FDA and CDC have both stated that there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted via food due to the nature of the virus itself. The risk at this time, is to our food industry workers and their health and safety.
To protect employees and ensure a stable food supply chain, it is critical that food manufacturing companies take time to assess their COVID-19 practices including:
- Developing a written COVID-19 best practices document
- Training and implementing best practices in the workplace
- Checking that the best practices are effective
- Engaging the workforce in improving those practices
Adapting new practices into your workplace to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is a challenge. Northwest Food Solutions has posted resources for food companies looking for help and ideas in implementing best practices. If you have resources or ideas for best practices, please share them with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will share these in our next newsletter.
Thank you to all the food industry and other critical infrastructure workers who are continuing to do the heavy lifting to keep our nation functioning. Stay safe!