As frozen food manufacturers begin to vaccinate their workforce, it’s still important to follow CDC’s recommendations regarding social distancing, mask wearing and COVID testing protocols in facilities until further scientific evidence or guidance regarding vaccination is released.
OSHA releases guidance designed to help employers protect workers who are unvaccinated (including people who are not fully vaccinated) or otherwise at-risk, including if they are immunocompromised.
Employers should continue to follow existing prevention practices including:
- Encourage that employees get vaccinated
- Instruct workers who are infected, unvaccinated workers who have had close contact with someone who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and all workers with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home from work
- Implement physical distancing in all communal work areas
- Provide workers with face coverings and other personal protective equipment as appropriate
AFFI Worker Safety Toolkit
AFFI’s Scientific and Regulatory Affairs team worked with food industry trade associations and federal officials to develop the following guidance documents for the frozen food industry.
- Recommended Protocols When an Employee Tests Positive
- Decision Tool for Operation Scenarios with COVID-19
- Emergency Prevention Measures to Achieve Physical (Social) Distancing
- Proper Usage of Face Masks
- COVID-19 Food and Beverage Industry Fact Sheet
- COVID-19 Record Keeping Requirements for OSHA
These resources also live on The Food and Beverage Industry Alliance’s website. FeedingUs.org
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a national emphasis program (NEP) targeting companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting COVID-19, in response to an Executive Order from President Biden. The NEP includes added focus on preventing retaliation if employees file complaints or submit severe incident reports. OSHA’s announcement may bring more scrutiny to the meatpacking industry and other workplaces where employees have a high frequency of close contact exposures as the NEP includes planned inspections, as well as follow-ups to workplace inspections that took place last year.
OSHA announced onsite workplace inspections are being prioritized as part of its Interim Enforcement Response Plan. This updated plan is scheduled to go into effect on March 18, 2021 and effectively rescinds OSHA’s enforcement guidance from May 26, 2020.
OSHA’s Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace guidance provides updated guidance and recommendations and outlines existing safety and health standards. OSHA is providing these recommendations to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. The guidance details key measures for limiting coronavirus’s spread, including:
- Ensuring infected or potentially infected people are not in the workplace;
- Implementing and following physical distancing protocols; and
- Using surgical masks or cloth face coverings.
- Interim Guidance from CDC and OSHA
- CDC Resuming Business Toolkit
- CDC Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Cleaning and disinfecting your facility
- FAO Guidance for Preventing Transmission of COVID-19 Within Food Businesses
- H-2A Employer Health Equity Toolkit
Download these infographics to use in your break rooms and internal websites.
For Assistance Contact:
Dr. Donna Garren
Dr. Lory Reveil
Dr. Sanjay Gummalla
The voluntary industry guidance on this website (“Industry Guidance”) is based on recommendations received from a variety of sources, including federal agencies, state health authorities, and industry advisors. As recommended practices continue to evolve, guidance on these issues also may have been issued by federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Department of Labor, state and local authorities, and others subsequent to the formulation of this Industry Guidance. For this reason, in addition to considering this Industry Guidance, readers are encouraged to review any and all updated guidance from either industry or governmental authorities, as well as any guidance that may be issued in the future, as it is expected that recommended practices will continue to evolve. Readers should also check this website for any updated versions of this Industry Guidance.
AFFI disclaims all (1) express and implied warranties and (2) any liability that may allegedly result as a result of reliance on this Industry Guidance.
Readers are also encouraged to exercise their best judgment in considering whether, due to their particular individual circumstances, it would be reasonable to implement additional measures to further reduce the risks related to COVID-19. Readers are further encouraged to consider any and all additional authoritative resources and advice.