Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and SIPTU have today reached agreement on a detailed Code of Practice to protect staff in the industry from COVID-19.
The Code of Practice formalises the existing suite of measures in place in members’ processing facilities that have played an important role in delivering the sharp reduction in the number of cases and clusters in meat plants, the group said in a statement.
It underpins the existing HSE specific guidance for the meat processing sector, MII added.
The Code harmonises separate proposals put forward by SIPTU and MII, drawing on a large area of common ground in both organisations’ approach to employee safety.
The HSE serial testing programme continues in meat processing facilities nationwide.
According to MII the results are very encouraging and point to a low level of incidence of the virus.
'Comprehensive Testing Regime'
Latest information from the HSE on the comprehensive testing regime is that the positivity rate is 0.3%, it said.
This demonstrates that the comprehensive protocols and mitigation measures in place in processing facilities across the country are working.
No other industrial work setting has had such a comprehensive screening test programme in place, MII noted.
Commenting on the protocol, Cormac Healy, director of MII, said: “We are pleased to have worked with SIPTU to agree this set of safety protocols to protect employees in our sector. It formalises a wide range of measures that have already been put in place and will provide reassurance that the industry is 100% committed to taking all appropriate steps to mitigate the risk posed by COVID-19."
“The sharp reduction in clusters in meat plants and the low rate of positive test incidence shown by the ongoing serial testing is indicative that the efforts being made are working. However, there is no room for complacency. Given the wider community trends in COVID-19 cases, continued vigilance and rigorous enforcement of mitigation measures and testing, track and trace is essential,” he added.
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