Meat and Poultry Processing Facility Assessment Toolkit

Tools and resources for occupational safety and health professionals and state and local public health officials assessing meat and poultry processing facilities

Updated June 18, 2020
Meat and Poultry Processing Guidance

Who these tools are for: These tools and resources are for occupational safety and health professionals and state and local public health officials.

Purpose: Occupational safety and health professionals and state and local public health officials can use these tools to assess coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection prevention and control measures at meat and poultry processing facilities, as well as these facilities’ overall hazard assessment and control plans.

The tools are based on Meat and Poultry Processing Workers and Employers – Interim Guidance from CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the transmission and severity of COVID-19.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will update this guidance as needed and as additional information becomes available. Please check the CDC COVID-19 website periodically for updated interim guidance.

Facility assessment checklist

The facility assessment checklist is intended for use by occupational safety and health professionals to assess a facility’s COVID-19 control plan and determine whether control measures in place align with CDC/OSHA guidance. A checklist assessment should be done when control plans are formed, and each time that control plans are revised.

We recommend that those conducting the assessment checklist include the following steps. During each step include management and employee representatives (e.g., union representatives) if appropriate.

  1. Pre-assessment. Inform all parties of the goals of the assessment. Work as a group to review the checklist to determine if each part applies to your company.
  2. Walkthrough of the facility. While conducting the walkthrough of a facility, use the checklist to document what you find. Observe as much of the plant processes as possible. Limit participation to those familiar with plant processes.
  3. Post-assessment. After conducting the assessment, discuss observations, develop action items, determine steps to protect workers, and prioritize actions to be taken to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the workplace.

Facility assessment tool

The facility assessment tool is intended for state and local health officials to assess COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures in meat and poultry processing facilities. This tool is not intended to assess regulatory compliance. Elements can be added or removed depending on the local situation. Officials can complete the assessment through a combination of the following actions:

  • Review of written policies;
  • Discussions with facility management and worker representatives;
  • Direct observation through a site evaluation.

Direct observation of infection prevention and control practices is encouraged. A qualified public health or health and safety professional should complete the assessment.

If conducting a site evaluation, we recommend the following steps.

  1. Review the facility’s COVID-19 workplace health and safety plan. Use the facility assessment tool to evaluate the relevant infection prevention and control measures and assess whether the plan addresses all elements contained within the CDC/OSHA guidance.
  2. Meet with management and employee representatives. Use the meeting to inform all parties of the focus of the assessment.
  3. Conduct a site evaluation. Conduct a walkthrough of the facility; observe as much of the facility as possible. Include management and employee representatives in the assessment, if possible, but limit participation to those familiar with plant processes.
  4. Conduct a post-assessment meeting. After conducting the site evaluation, meet with the group to discuss observations, determine interim steps to protect workers, and prioritize actions to be taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within the workplace.

Quick reference slides for occupational safety and health professionals and state and local public health officials

The meat and poultry processing workers guidance overview slides provide an overview of the Meat and Poultry Processing Workers and Employers – Interim Guidance from CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The information covered in these slides is not the only information that might be useful, and it is meant to  provide a framework for the critical information meat and poultry processing facilities should use when developing plans for continuing operations in the setting of COVID-19 occurring among workers, or in the surrounding community.

The meat and poultry processing assessment tools overview slides provide an overview of the components of the facility assessment checklist and the facility assessment tool.

Quick reference guides for meat and poultry processing facility employees and employers

CDC has also developed one-page flyers with recommendations and strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in meat and poultry processing facilities. The first flyer includes key strategies for employerspdf icon to prevent COVID-19 infection among employees. The second flyer includes tips for employeespdf icon to protect themselves and other from COVID-19 at work and at home. The fliers are available in multiple languages.