In an update from Tyson Foods CEO Noel White on the impact of the coronavirus, he outlined the steps the company is taking to protect its workforce and maintain production.
“We’ve been taking the temperature of workers at all of our locations before they enter company facilities. We’re mostly using temporal thermometers but at a few locations we’re beginning to implement infrared temperature scanners. In addition, we’ve stepped up deep cleaning and sanitizing of our facilities, especially in employee breakrooms, locker rooms and other areas, to protect our team members. This additional cleaning sometimes requires suspending at least one day of production.
“We’re also coordinating with federal agencies to emphasize the need for personal protective equipment to support our team members as we remain open. We’re working to secure an adequate supply of protective face coverings for production workers and have implemented interim protocols for temporary protective coverings, while observing food safety.”
He said all sites have had some production impact due to these measures while one site in Iowa has temporarily closed due to confirmed cases of the virus. “Our meat and poultry plants are experiencing varying levels of production impact, due to the planned implementation of additional worker safety precautions and worker absenteeism. For example, out of an abundance of caution, we have suspended operations at our Columbus Junction, Iowa, pork plant this week due to more than two dozen cases of COVID-19 involving team members at the facility. In an effort to minimize the impact on our overall production, we’re diverting the livestock supply originally scheduled for delivery to Columbus Junction to some of our other pork plants in the region.”
White added that Tyson Foods was continuing to introduce new measures to protect staff. “We continue to explore and implement additional ways to promote more social distancing in our plants. This includes erecting dividers between workstations or increasing the space between workers on the production floor, which can involve slowing production lines. We’re also creating more room in non-production areas. For example, at some locations, we’ve set up tents to create outdoor break rooms.”