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Meat processing plant will only return to normal when the HSE says it is safe to do so

The plant was supposed to get back to some form of work on 18 August but this has since been pushed back to 24 August.

O'Brien Fine Foods in Timahoe, Kildare.
O'Brien Fine Foods in Timahoe, Kildare.
Image: RollingNews.ie

A MEAT PROCESSING factory will not re-open fully until the HSE informs management that it is safe to do so. 

A statement from O’Brien’s Fine Foods, which is based in Timahoe in Kildare, said the firm is taking HSE advice seriously and has implemented a rigorous testing regime at the plant. 

Another round of testing is taking place today and is being carried out by the HSE. The company said it will also test in 14-day intervals during the coming months.

Over 85 people from the firm have tested positive for Covid in recent weeks.

The statement added that all employees continue to be paid in full. 

“We are adopting a slow, controlled and phased approach to reopening with normal operations due to resume from 24 August. Minimal warehousing operations, as approved by the HSE will continue at significantly reduced capacity levels”, the statement read. 

Other measures being taken by the firm include: 

  • Only those employees who have been approved by the HSE will return to work
  • Changing shift patterns to minimise engagement between staff
  • Arranging safe transportation of all team members to and from work and daily/weekly completion of a return to work protocols by all team members in a range of languages

The plant was supposed to get back to some form of work on 18 August but this has since been pushed back to 24 August. 

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A spokesman for the company said: “Since the first cases of Covid-19 were identified in Ireland last February, O’Brien Fine Foods implemented a rigorous health and safety policy.

“This includes working from home for all non-operations staff, mandatory PPE, Perspex screens, staggered shift and break times, restricted visitor to site policy, daily temperature checking, changing work practices, communications in five languages, and intensive cleaning and sanitisation procedures with additional cleaning personnel contracted on site.

“The Timahoe facility was also fully audited by the relevant inspectors during this time with no issues identified.” 

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