Federal agencies Workplace exposures Food Manufacturing

COVID-19 pandemic: OSHA, CDC and FDA team up on guidance for seafood processing industry

Photo: GomezDavid/iStockphoto

Washington — OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration have released joint interim guidance intended to help seafood processing employers reduce COVID-19 exposure among workers, including those at onshore facilities and aboard offshore vessels.

The guidance includes information on:

  • Screening and monitoring employees, and creating systems for workers to alert supervisors if they have signs or symptoms of the disease, or had recent close contact with a suspected or confirmed case.
  • Analyzing sick leave policies and incentive programs to ensure sick workers stay home and aren’t penalized for taking sick leave.
  • Modifying workstations so employees remain at least 6 feet away from each other.
  • Staggering work shifts to limit the number of employees onsite at one time.
  • Providing temporary restrooms or break areas to avoid crowding.

Although the products seafood workers handle don’t expose them to COVID-19, “their work environments – processing stations and other areas in busy facilities where they have close contact with co-workers and supervisors – may contribute to their potential exposures.”

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