Employers must conduct a hazard assessment to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, for which workers need PPE.
- Use videos or in-person visual demonstrations of proper PPE donning and doffing procedures. (Maintain social distancing during these demonstrations.)
- Emphasize that care must be taken when putting on and taking off PPE to ensure that the worker or the item does not become contaminated.
- Provide PPE that is either disposable (preferred) or, if reusable, ensure it is properly disinfected and stored in a clean location when not in use.
- PPE worn at the facility should not be taken home or shared.
Face shields may serve as both PPE and source control:
- If helmets are being used, use face shields designed to attach to helmets.
- Face shields can provide additional protection from both potential process-related splashes and potential person-to-person droplet spread.
- Safety glasses may fog up when used in combination with masks or cloth face coverings.
- Only some face shields are acceptable substitutions for eye protection (such as safety glasses) that are used for impact protection; facilities should consult with occupational safety and health professional concerning the use of face shields.
- Face shields can help minimize contamination of masks and cloth face coverings
- If used, face shields should be cleaned and decontaminated after each shift, and when not in use they should be kept in a clean location at the work facility.
- If used, face shields should also wrap around the sides of the wearer's face and extend to below the chin.
Employers should stress hand hygiene before and after handling all PPE. Employers in meat and poultry processing industries should continue to stay up to date on the most current guidance concerning PPE.
As part of their hazard assessments, employers must always consider whether PPE is necessary to protect workers. Specifically, when engineering and administrative controls are difficult to maintain and there may be exposure to other workplace hazards, such as splashes or sprays of liquids on processing lines or disinfectants used for facility cleaning, PPE should be considered.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, meat and poultry processing employers should consider allowing voluntary use of filtering facepiece respirators (such as an N95, if available) for their workers, even if respirators are not normally required.
In addition to face shields as noted above, workers in meat and poultry processing facilities may need PPE such as gloves, face and eye protection, and other types of PPE when cleaning and disinfecting meat and poultry processing plants (including frequently touched surfaces), tools, and equipment.
When PPE is needed, employers should consider additional hazards created by poorly fitting PPE (e.g., mask ties that dangle or catch, PPE that is loose and requires frequent adjustment or tends to fall off) for the work environment (e.g., machinery in which PPE could get caught).