SPRINGDALE, ARK. – Meat and poultry processors across the United States made significant investments in facilities to mitigate risk of COVID-19 transmission among employees. In 2020, Tyson Foods spent $540 million toward mobile health clinics and healthcare providers, and environmental designs of processing plants to minimize the risk of spreading the virus in partnership with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Matrix Medical Network. Now, the company is taking a step back to assess how well Tyson’s COVID-19 risk mitigation strategies are working.

The company announced that more than a dozen Tyson Foods plant locations are participating in a pilot program from Matrix that assesses, addresses, verifies and monitors the effectiveness of the company’s efforts to protect workers from COVID-19.

Six facilities have already received safety verification and seven more are in the process of being assessed, Tyson said. 

The program includes:

• On-site assessments based on the latest guidelines from the CDC, OSHA and state regulations.

• Best-in-class protocols based on the well-established clinical and industry expertise of Cleveland Clinic and Matrix.

• Actionable recommendations to address identified health and safety gaps; and

• Ongoing updates on evolving COVID-19 guidance and regulations.

The multidisciplinary approach to verification involves analysis of workplace policies and procedures, as well as areas where people gather, including density, traffic flow, ventilation and physical proximity, according to Tyson.

Safety verification is granted for a year and includes another on-site assessment after six months to ensure continued compliance with current guidelines. The Matrix developed the certification program in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic, one of the largest health systems in the United States.

“Our company has made tremendous progress in our efforts to protect our team members by transforming our facilities and implementing an always-on testing strategy,” said Tom Brower, senior vice president of Health & Safety for Tyson Foods. “We believe this certification by outside health experts confirms we’re using best-in-class measures to combat the virus. And, what we learn from the plants where we’re piloting this program can also be applied at other company locations across the country.”

The verification pilot program follows an announcement by Tyson Foods that the company also is partnering with Matrix to ensure the company’s US team members are educated about and have access to COVID-19 vaccines. 

“Matrix has been working closely with Tyson since the beginning of the pandemic setting up mobile health clinics, conducting risk assessments, and collaborating with the company on testing strategies,” said Dr. Daniel Castillo, Matrix chief medical officer. “The new certification program brings together the Matrix risk assessment and Covid-19 experience and the deep clinical expertise of Cleveland Clinic to establish and sustain healthy, safe, and productive workplaces for Tyson employees.”