According to a recent article in SouthCoastToday – Blue Harvest Fisheries of New Bedford, MA, was ordered to shut down and cease operations by the city’s Board of Health. This order went into effect after three employees there tested positive for COVID-19 with a 14-day period.
The order also calls for the company to have a designated COVID-19 Health and Safety officer in charge of recording staff temperatures at the beginning and end of their shifts, communicating COVID-19- related information to the city’s Health Department, ensuring all staff wear face coverings and shields and stay at least six feet apart from one another on the production line, and ensuring culturally and linguistically appropriate COVID-19 safety information is displayed in conspicuous locations throughout the facility.
Food processing companies across the country have seen cases of COVID-19
Blue Harvest Fisheries is not the only food processing company to be hit by COVID-19.
A Washington Post investigation has found three of the nation’s largest meat processors failed to provide protective gear to all workers, and some employees say they were told to continue working in crowded plants even while sick as the coronavirus spread around the country and turned the facilities into infection hot spots.
Tyson Foods, JBS USA and Smithfield Foods have closed 15 processing plants due to improper social distancing and the lack of personal protective equipment.
COVID-19 safety testing measures are the “new normal”
With the urge to start reopening our economy, many states are starting to ease the stay-at-home mandate and allowing certain businesses to reopen.
As we all feel the need to get back to work and restart our economy, we must realize that as we do this, business as usual will be anything but normal. Many new safety measures will need to be in place and adhered to for both employees and customers to feel comfortable enough to go back to work and shop our local businesses.
After speaking with our corporate, construction, retail, educational, and sports league’s leaders, we have determined that fever screenings are becoming the “new normal” and are being built into the workforce and visitor access protocols for the long term.
As you know, employee protection, business continuity, customer service, and service excellence are at the core of what we do at OccuMed of New England. Fitting into these core values is the recent development of our newest service package which is to bring our paramedic staff and fever screening device, to our current and future customers and partners.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers, and public safety organizations are implementing temperature screening policies as they prepare for the re-opening of the workplace and public buildings that have been ordered to close in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Forehead thermometers have been traditionally used for this practice. We have coupled the temperature monitoring with our proven compliance auditing software to administer an efficient method which does not put our screeners at risk and does not perpetuate the possibility of cross-contamination due to close contact within the workspace.
COVID-19 Safety Services to Protect Your Workers and Customers
Our bundled COVID 19 /Coronavirus services system allows for quickly screening and detecting individuals with an elevated temperature. Utilizing a thermal thermometer in conjunction with our mobile app, we provide a solution that will alert employers and the workforce when a scanned person’s temperature exceeds a predetermined threshold, allowing for immediate intervention and protective measures.
We have furthered our efforts by creating a COVID 19 / Coronavirus written administrative policy process, training solutions and inspection processes that will ensure our current and future customers and partners are not at risk of jeopardizing their employee’s health and wellbeing or their ability to continue to operate in a safe and profitable manner
The following is included in our service package individually or bundled:
- COVID-19 written directive/policy on requirements which can be either a corporate policy or a site-specific policy.
- Daily On-site medical monitoring briefing at the start of each shift on current COVID-19 concerns.
- Daily administration of a COVID-19 acknowledgment form to each employee verifying their understanding of the requirements of the COVID-19 guidelines; this process also includes the individual monitoring of employee’s body temperatures along with a verification that the employee has not had any symptoms of COVID-19 or has come in contact with any individuals that have tested positive for COVID-19. (Testing is completed with FDA approved equipment and under FDA testing periodicals).
- Sitewide COVID-19 compliance audit to assure each the contractor on-site is meeting the requirements.
- COVID-19 audit summary report for an audit conducted at the project site.
- Incident Reporting: If in any case in an employee is found to be showing the signs or symptoms of COVID-19 our on-site representative will follow through with a full investigation which includes an incident report.
- Training Services: As part of the services we offer our clients training on infectious control for site supervisors, that will be responsible for monitoring for COVID-19 compliance and conditions outside of OccuMed’s daily audit/inspection.
- Record Retention: OccuMed will maintain all records of the services including the daily reports, individual acknowledgment forms (which include the temperatures), and any investigation reports are conducted.
OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
Ten Steps All Workplaces Can Take to Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus
Coronavirus Fact Sheet
Help Stop the Spread
Public Health Management Decision-Making