HSE staff spent time testing workers at a plant in Edenderry this week.
SIPTU says the government response to the outbreak of covid-19 in meat factories across Ireland hasn't been up to scratch.
Staff at Rosderra Irish Meats in Edenderry were tested for the virus earlier this week following an outbreak in Roscrea.
SIPTU representative Greg Ennis says the nature of the industry is part of the problem:
In a statement, Rosderra Irish Meats say they're proactively adapting to the changing environment while awaiting test result and contact tracing of staff across their facilities.
Health and Safety within meat factories has been raised in the Dail in the past few weeks prompting tighter controls on testing in the sector.
The company say that some staff who tested positive in mid-March have now returned to work and that they are advising employees with any symptoms not to come to work.
Local figures: https://t.co/1htaZdOW2M— Midlands103 (@Midlands103) May 14, 2020
Statement in Full:
Rosderra Irish Meats Group continues to work closely with the HSE, DAFM and Occupational Health Professionals in continuing to implement our significant COVID-19 control measures and protocols to ensure that all health, safety and sanitation requirements are being strictly adhered to in order that transmission of the virus is minimised. The safety and welfare of our employees is of the utmost importance to Rosderra Irish Meats and we continue to be extremely vigilant with our protective measures for infection control- including supervised distancing, mandatory face coverings for all employees on all sites, temperature screening and a staggered approach to breaks and start times to reduce the possibility of gatherings.
There is continued open communication with all employees – highlighting each step of our precautionary measures. All communications and briefings to staff are in the relevant languages. All employees have been informed NOT to come to work when feeling ill or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. We are extremely thankful to report that the employees that tested positive are recovering well or have recovered and returned to work.
From week commencing 16 th March, we instituted temperature screening which included completion of a symptom interview-questionnaire for all staff and essential visitors entering our sites and have followed the advice of our Occupational Health Professionals.
In addition, we have:
- Introduced additional PPE – visors, masks and goggles.
- Extended and reorganised canteens to facilitate adequate social distancingat break-times
and in changing rooms and have extended washing facilities
- Increased our hand sanitising stations – which was already at a high level as befitting a
food production plant.
- Reconfigured our operations to facilitate social distancing or partitioned workspaces where
- Staff working from home where possible
- High risk and vulnerable staff have self-isolated at home
- Trained and briefed all staff in their relevant languages on Covid-19 related issues including
Covid-19 related financial support measures.
- Engaged with the HSE to co-ordinate testing of all of our staff at two locations
- Broadened the scope of the Company Employee Assistance Programme
In common with many other sizeable essential businesses, regrettably we have staff across the business who are self-isolating and are awaiting tests or test results, staff who have tested positive from mid-March, some of whom have returned to work following the HSE agreed self-isolation protocol and some who continue to self-isolate under the same protocol and staff who have tested negative and continue to work. We have reconfigured our process in line with available staff.
As Covid-19 continues to evolve, we have proactively adapted to that changing environment, to protect the safety of our employees, we have followed HSE advice and guidelines in the co-ordinated testing process, while awaiting results and in any contact tracing that can emerge from that process. We continue to work with DAFM, Unions, HSE, Occupational Health Practitioners, Farm Suppliers, other Suppliers and Customers to keep our employees safe and healthy in this unprecedented time, while delivering much needed food to consumers and avoiding significant animal welfare issues on farms.