Gary Mickelson, senior director of public relations for Tyson Foods, shared this statement with The Catholic Messenger regarding the company’s COVID-19 protective measures and policies:
Our top priority is the health and safety of our workers and we’ve implemented a host of protective measures at our facilities that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidance for preventing COVID-19.
Tyson Foods formed a coronavirus task force in January. We were one of the first companies to start taking team member temperatures and we began efforts to secure a supply of face masks before the CDC recommended using them.
We’ve transformed our facilities with protective measures. We’re conducting wellness health screening of all team members each time they arrive at the facility, checking for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath in addition to continuing to check team members’ temperatures. We have purchased more than 150 infrared walkthrough temperature scanners to assist in this effort.
We’re providing and requiring surgical-style face masks, and we’ve implement social distancing measures, such as installing physical barriers between workstations and in break rooms, providing more break room space, erecting outdoor tents where possible for additional space for breaks, clearly marking six-foot distances in common use areas and staggering start times to avoid large gatherings as team members enter the facilities.
We also have more than 500 social distance monitors in our facilities to track our social distancing efforts and ensure personal protective equipment is being worn properly.
Our plant production areas are sanitized daily to ensure food safety, and we have stepped up deep cleaning and sanitizing of our facilities, especially in employee break rooms, locker rooms and other areas to protect our team members. We have team members dedicated to constantly wiping down and sanitizing common areas. In some cases, this additional cleaning involves suspending production.
We partnered with Matrix Medical Network, a leading provider of mobile health clinics, to provide health services, including onsite testing as appropriate.
We’ve made changes to benefits. For example, we waived the waiting period for eligibility for short-term disability benefits, so workers can receive pay while they’re sick with the flu or COVID-19. We’re also:
• Waiving the co-pay, co-insurance and deductible for doctor visits for COVID-19 testing as well as eliminating pre-approval or preauthorization steps.
• Waiving co-pays for the use of telemedicine.
• Relaxing refill limits for 30-day prescriptions of maintenance medication.
Tyson Foods has given plant tours to government leaders, and officials from the CDC and LULAC, the nation’s largest and oldest Hispanic organization, so they could see the measures the company has put in place.
LULAC has acknowledged that Tyson Foods has “made significant strides.”