CDC suggests ways to keep plant workers well
SALISBURY, Md. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted at Perdue Farms last month a series of best practices the poultry company established in early March after the coronavirus spread across the Eastern Shore, infecting an unknown number of processing plant workers.
The CDC toured processing plants across the Eastern Shore to advise integrators and the state governments of Maryland and Virginia on how best to protect workers and the poultry supply chain from the virus, which as of May 28, had infected at least 1.7 Americans and killed more than 100,000.
Among the procedures the CDC highlighted in a Perdue statement:
• Temperature checking as a requirement to enter processing facilities;
• Mask wearing;
• Social distancing where possible;
• Partitions on the production line to better isolate workers;
• Hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the facility;
• Additional staff to constantly disinfect commonly touched surfaces; and
• A cleaning surface to sanitize the facility every 24 hours
Perdue is translating training and educational materials into the languages spoken by its workers, including Spanish and Haitian Creole. The company is also hosting town-hall meetings with local officials to speak with locals about measures it’s taking to keep its workers and the surrounding community safe.
“As we continue to seek additional ways to protect our associates during COVID-19, we welcomed the CDC’s visit, appreciated their support, and were pleased with their findings that we had already gone above and beyond expectations to protect our associates, including testing everyone at our Salisbury facility on May,” said Kevin Dennis, who is the director of operations at the facility, in the statement. “While county and state health officials expected these test results to be around 20 percent, the actual results clearly show our efforts to protect our associates are working, with positive cases in our facility around 4 percent, which is lower than the rate of cases in the county.”
The CDC suggested additional improvements, including:
• Removing all fans from the processing floor and consulting with engineers to ensure adequate ventilation in work areas;
• Encouraging single-file movement and 6 feet of distance between all workers; and
• Discouraging carpooling
The CDC also visited Perdue facilities in Accomac, Va., and Georgetown and Milford, Del. The company will release those reports when they are available, the statement said.
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