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Perdue Farms Increases Steps To Protect Employees During Covid-19

Perdue Farms
Trained testers check the temperatures of associates entering a Perdue Farms facility in Schulenburg, Texas, through a protective plexiglass barrier.

 Salisbury, Maryland-based Perdue Farms is increasing its measured to protect and support employees during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As the Covid-19 crisis continues to evolve, we’ve enacted numerous proactive measures to protect our associates during this uncharted time,” said Perdue Farms CEO Randy Day. “For example, at our plants, we are practicing social distancing not only in common areas, such as break rooms and cafeterias, but also on the production lines where possible. Where social distancing isn’t possible, we are rolling out temporary installations of dividers between our associates on production lines.”

Perdue Farms partitions
At Perdue Farms’ Milford, Delaware facility, temporary partitions protect production associates.

The company says the design of these partitions is such that they can be easily customized and installed in many different applications throughout our production facilities where needed. The stainless elements are welded versus bolted to minimize potential pathogen harborage points. Made using either plexiglass or stretched trash bags, the dividers will be cleaned or replaced, respectively, between every shift.

“We’re extremely proud of our engineering, maintenance and operations teams, who developed these dividers in a matter of days to protect our associates on the front lines. We’ve installed hundreds so far at four different production facilities and are working hard to have them set up in all facilities in the coming weeks,” Day said. “Additional preventative measures include temperature checking at all production facilities, as well as rolling out a disposable mask program which will be available at all production facilities by the end of this week.”

Utilizing infrared non-contact temperature devices, everyone entering a production facility will have their temperature taken each day by trained testers. Anyone with a temperature at or above applicable health department guidelines will be directed to that facility’s onsite Wellness Center for further screening and instruction.

The company says it is aware that this global situation is creating stress for many of its employees and their families beyond the immediate health concerns. That is why, in addition to incremental safety precautions in its facilities, it has taken steps to increase compensation for employees and create flexibilities in leave policies. For example, because this pandemic has caused many employees to cancel their vacation or personal time off (PTO), it has temporarily removed the PTO accrual maximum for all employees until June 1. This will allow them to continue accruing PTO weekly/biweekly past the maximum amount, and they will have until June 1, 2021, to utilize the days over their PTO maximum.

“As we navigate the challenges posed by this unprecedented pandemic, we will continue to seek additional opportunities to protect and support our associates who are continuing to produce safe, high-quality food for our country,” Day said.

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