A food company has agreed to develop an infectious disease preparedness plan for seven of its meat-processing facilities. Following inspections in April and May 2020, OSHA cited the company for failing to protect workers from infectious disease hazards and issued a $14,502 penalty.
One facility in Greenley, CO was shut down on April 13, 2020, due to a COVID-19 outbreak and reopened five days later. The outbreak resulted in five worker deaths, 51 hospitalizations, and 290 confirmed cases reported.
The company’s Green Bay, WI facility
had closed in late April 2020 and reopened ten days later. By August 12, 2020, two workers had died out of 357 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The company has since agreed to collaborate with third-party experts and assemble its own team to draft and implement an infectious disease preparedness plan. The team will evaluate work areas and other spaces where employees congregate to minimize employee potential exposure to infectious diseases.
The beef company will provide safety and health training to workers so they can understand and assist with the infectious disease preparedness plan as needed.
Company personnel and third-party experts must also:
- Review the company’s existing programs and procedures, including its occupational health system.
- Evaluate and provide recommendations regarding engineering, administrative, and work practice controls, including ventilation, employee and visitor screening protocols, and cleaning.
- Identify personal protective equipment (PPE) and respiratory protection needs, including the number of respirators and other PPE to stockpile in preparation for future outbreaks and public health emergencies.
- Address occupational health issues related to infectious disease prevention and response and provide recommendations on a continuity of operations plan.
Once an infectious disease preparedness plan is established, the company will appoint a plan administrator to oversee and implement the plan.
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