Alliance Established to Protect Meatpacking Workers from Coronavirus

Alliance Established to Protect Meatpacking Workers from Coronavirus

OSHA has teamed up with the North American Meat Institute to provide information, guidance and access training resources for protection workers exposed to COVID-19.

An alliance between OSHA and the North American Meat Institute has been finalized with the hope of bringing much needed resources to the workers in the meatpacking and process industry that might be exposed to the coronavirus.

“Through this alliance, we look forward to working with OSHA to continue our work to protect the health and safety of the men and women who work in meat and poultry facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and thereafter,” said Meat Institute President and Chief Executive Officer Julie Anna Potts. “These workers are essential to making food for our nation and are a critical part of our rural economies.”

An OSHA press release explained that this two-year alliance will develop information on recognizing coronavirus transmission risks and best practices for preventing the spread of the virus in meatpacking and processing facilities. Alliance participants will also conduct outreach to small- and medium-sized facilities on available guidance and compliance assistance resources, including the On-Site Consultation Program, and will work together on outreach activities, including providing information on OSHA's enforcement policies and procedures relevant to the meatpacking industry.

“The security of America’s food supply relies on meat processing facilities continuing to operate with a healthy workforce,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “Together, OSHA and the North American Meat Institute can help ensure that employers in this critical industry have the tools and information they need to protect workers from the risk of the coronavirus.”

The news comes as several meatpacking and processing facilities struggle with the challenges that come with the importance of food production in America while battling a pandemic. Many meatpacking facilities have been at the center of the news for their COVID-19 outbreaks, some struggling to stay open and keep up with production while Americans continue to buy more groceries than ever in an effort to stay home. States around the country are working hard to create policies and procedures to prevent transmissions, track outbreaks and create even more safeguards to keep meatpacking and processing workers safe. 

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