Meat and poultry processing facilities have new workplace safety guidelines during pandemic

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    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday outlined workplace safety guidelines for meatpacking plants Thursday through Executive Order 2020-145

    “Meatpacking plants — where employees work in very close quarters — has proven to be a hotspot for COVID-19 infections in other states, which is why it’s important for these facilities to space employees out and ensure they have the proper Personal Protective Equipment to keep themselves and their families safe,” Whitmer said in a statement. 

    Meat and poultry processing plants will be required to conduct a daily entry screening protocol for anyone entering the facility, ensure employees are able to stay six feet apart, require employees to wear a face covering and provide them with cloth or disposable options. 

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    The companies must also install physical barriers to separate meat and poultry processing employees from each other, ensure adequate ventilation in the work areas and provide floor markings or signs to remind employees of social distancing.

    The executive order also requires that facilities minimize the number of employees in the building by reducing processing capacity, modifying the production lines or staggering workers across shifts. 

    All meat and poultry processing companies must adopt sick leave policies that discourage employees from entering the workplace while sick and modify incentive programs that penalize employees for taking sick leave. 

    Allison Donahue
    Allison Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.