OSHA releases manufacturing guidance following several outbreaks

By Angela Childers

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released guidance for the manufacturing sector offering strategies to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

This guidance, released Thursday, came just days after several food processors — which fall under OSHA’s manufacturing category — closed down due to coronavirus outbreaks. Smithfield Foods Inc. announced April 12 that it would close its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, pork processing facility after news outlets reported that as many as 600 of the plant’s workers had contracted COVID-19. An outbreak at a Tyson Foods Inc. chicken processing plant in Iowa has also been reported; the plant closed April 6.

The guidance recommends that manufacturing companies stagger shifts, maintain distances of six feet between employees if possible, allow workers to wear masks and provide training on the proper donning and doffing of personal protective equipment and clothing.

Manufacturers are also urged to promote personal hygiene and provide alcohol-based hand rubs of at least 60% alcohol if handwashing access is not available and provide disinfectants and disposable towels for employees to clean work surfaces.


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