Edenderry meat factory responds after workers at plant test positive for Covid-19

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Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Edenderry meat factory responds after workers test positive for Covid-19 at plant

Edenderry meat factory responds to further coronavirus criticism

Rosderra Meats has issued another statement defending its response to the current coronavirus pandemic. The statement comes after a Laois-Offaly TD claimed as many as 10 members of staff at the company's Edenderry plant tested positive of the deadly virus.

Deputy Brian Stanley said: "I have spoken to Edenderry workers over the past few days again and they have outlined to me their concerns about delays in putting basic prevention measures in place in the factory. The first complaint I had from staff was over three weeks ago, approximately the same time the first case of Covid-19 emerged there.

"They have outlined their serious concerns regarding, inadequate social distancing on the factory floor and personal protection equipment (PPEs) only been made available across the workforce last week. Some workers also say they are worried about inadequate washroom facilities.

Responding yesterday, Rosderra Irish Meats said: "Further to the statement on May 1, Rosderra Irish Meats Group continues to work closely with the HSE, DAFM and the Irish Government in continuing to implement our significant COVID-19 control measures and protocols to ensure that all health, safety and sanitation requirements are being strictly adhered to.

"The welfare of our employees is of the utmost importance to Rosderra Irish Meats and we continue to be extremely vigilant with our protective measures - including social distancing, mandatory face coverings for all employees on all sites, temperature checks and a staggered approach to breaks and start times to reduce the possibility of overcrowding.

"There is continued open communication with all employees – highlighting each step of our precautionary measures. All employees have been informed NOT to come to work when feeling ill or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. We are extremely thankful to report that the employees that tested positive are recovering well or have recovered.

"From week commencing March 16, we instituted temperature testing and symptom interview-questionnaire for all staff and essential visitors entering our sites and have followed all Government advice.

"In addition, we have introduced additional PPE – visors, masks and goggles; set up marquees to facilitate adequate social distancing in changing rooms and at break times and are in the process of extending washing facilities; increased our hand sanitising procedure – which was already at a high level as befitting a food production plant; reconfigured our operations to facilitate social distancing or partitioned workspaces where appropriate; staff working from home where possible; engaged with the HSE to co-ordinate testing of all of our staff at one location.

"In common with many other sizeable essential businesses, including media companies, regrettably we have staff across the business who are self-isolating and are awaiting tests or test results, staff who have tested positive, some of whom have returned to work following the HSE agreed self-isolation protocol and some who continue to self-isolate under the same protocol and staff who have tested negative and continue to work.

"As Covid-19 is continuing to evolve, we have proactively adapted to that changing environment in putting in place additional prevention steps in our plants. We continue to work with DAFM, Unions, HSE, occupational health practitioners, farm suppliers, other suppliers and customers to keep our employees safe and healthy in this unprecedented time, while delivering much-needed food to supermarket shelves and avoiding significant animal welfare issues on farms," the company concluded.

Rosderra has not confirmed the number of positive cases at either their Edenderry or Roscrea factories. They have not yet disputed claims last week that over 120 staff members in Roscrea have now contracted the virus. It's understood at least ten have tested positive in Edenderry since the outbreak began.