Meat and Poultry Processing Workers and Employers
Interim Guidance from CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Meat and poultry processing facilities are a component of the critical infrastructure within the food and agriculture sector. Based on guidance from the CDC, 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. This document provides guidance for meat and poultry processing workers and employers—including those involved in beef, pork, and poultry operations.
Workers involved in meat and poultry processing are not exposed to COVID-19 through the meat products they handle. However, their work environments—processing lines and other areas in busy plants where they have close contact with coworkers and supervisors—may contribute substantially to their potential exposures.
Employers are encouraged to create a COVID-19 assessment and control plan to eliminate hazards and help prevent infection, including:
- Configure work environments so that workers are spaced at least six feet apart.
- Use physical barriers (plexiglass or similar materials) for partitions, if needed.
- Consider heating, ventilation, and air conditioning ventilation and removal of fans to help minimize exposure.
- Place handwashing stations or hand sanitizers in multiple locations.
- Remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add partitions in break rooms.
- Encourage single-file movement with a six-foot distance between each worker.
- Stagger break times and arrival/departure times.
- Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and tools.
- Establish protocols and provide supplies to increase the frequency of sanitization in work and common spaces.
- Analyze sick leave and attendance incentive policies to ensure employees who are ill are not working and not penalized for taking leave.
- Wear protective face coverings and other PPE.
- Supply additional training and information about COVID-19, recognizing signs and symptoms of infection, and ways to prevent exposure.
- Develop and implement screening and monitoring protocol to prevent COVID-19 from entering the worksite.
Additional information can be found at: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/meat-poultry-processing-workers-employers.html .