Food Safety Magazine

August 26, 2020

OSHA and FDA Develop Checklist to Protect Food Industry Employees Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

OSHA and FDA Develop Checklist to Protect Food Industry Employees Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have developed a checklist for human and animal food manufacturers to consider when continuing, resuming, or reevaluating operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The checklist is useful for persons growing, harvesting, packing, manufacturing, processing, or holding human and animal food regulated by FDA. The checklist includes the following considerations:

  • Ensure employee health and a safe workplace;
  • Investigate exposure and determine when an employee should be tested for the coronavirus; and
  • Configure the work environment to help minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus among workers.

In addition, the checklist provides examples of ways to align workstations to include social distancing practices.

Food manufacturers can use this checklist in conjunction with other sector-specific information, such as guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and OSHA for agriculture and meat and poultry processing workers and employers.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to help ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance.

The checklist is OSHA's latest effort to protect America's workers and help employers provide healthy workplaces during the coronavirus pandemic. OSHA has published numerous alerts and advisories for various industries, including Guidance on Returning to Work, which assists employers as they reopen businesses and employees return to work.

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