Company issues joint statement with Walla Walla County Department of Community Health
SPRINGDALE, Ark. – May 5, 2020 – Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN), will resume limited production today at its Pasco, Washington, beef facility. The facility temporarily idled operations on April 23 to test its team members for COVID-19.
Team members were asked to self-isolate until their results returned. The company worked with local health officials to verify test results, which were communicated to team members. Team members who tested positive will only return to work once they have met the criteria outlined by the CDC for safely returning employees back to work. Team members who have not been tested will be unable to return to work, and all new hires will be tested prior to starting work.
“The health and safety of our team members is our top priority,” said Shane Miller, senior vice president and general manger beef enterprise. “While the plant was idle, we performed a deep clean and sanitization of the facility and took proactive steps to complement our existing prevention efforts. Information is the best tool to fight COVID-19 and we’re focused on further educating our team members about CDC guidance to prevent spreading the virus. We have a diverse workforce and will provide this education in all languages spoken among our team members.”
Team members returning to work today will begin their shift with a facility tour to see the changes made to promote social distancing and additional protective measures that follow CDC and OSHA’s guidance for Meat and Poultry Processing Workers and Employers. These include:
- The use of infrared thermometers to check the temperature of team members before they enter company facilities.
- Supplying of protective facial coverings to every team member and requiring they are utilized.
- Required use of face shields for team members where workstation barriers can’t physically be implemented.
- Wellness checks to screen for symptoms, such as coughing and shortness of breath.
- Additional dedicated social distance monitors stationed throughout the facility during all shifts to ensure team members are adhering to safety protocols and social distancing requirements.
Tyson has also partnered with Matrix Medical Network, a leading medical clinical services company, to provide a mobile health clinic at the Pasco facility. The mobile clinic will provide community-based health services, including diagnostic (PCR) testing for COVID-19, daily on-site clinical screenings, access to nurse practitioners, and employee education and support for personal health goals or concerns. Matrix Medical is also assisting with the environmental design of the facility to mitigate the risk of community spread.
The company doubled the amount of its “thank you” bonus for its frontline workers, and team members who cannot come to work because of illness or childcare issues related to COVID-19 will continue to qualify. Tyson Foods also increased short-term disability coverage to 90% of normal pay until June 30 to encourage team members to stay home when they are sick.
“We would like to thank Tyson for continuing to take these measures seriously and putting the safety and welfare of their employees first,” said Meghan DeBolt, director of Walla Walla County Department of Community Health. “We would also like to thank our Department of Community Health team and Providence St. Mary Medical Center for helping test such a large number of Tyson employees quickly and efficiently. This was a huge team effort by everyone and a testament to the readiness of Walla Walla County to respond to a COVID-19 outbreak.”
About Tyson Foods
Tyson Foods, Inc. is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, the company has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells®, ibp® and State Fair®. Tyson Foods innovates continually to make protein more sustainable, tailor food for everywhere it’s available and raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do. Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, the company has 141,000 team members. Through its Core Values, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity, create value for its shareholders, customers, communities and team members and serve as a steward of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it. Visit TYSONFOODS.COM.