Team Member Safety in the COVID Era

June 22, 2020

A message from Dominic DiCarlo, VP of Safety & Compliance, on Lineage's swift and thorough response to the COVID-19 pandemic


Lineage’s number one value is safety for a reason. We take pride in our responsibility as shepherds of the global food supply chain, so the safety of our team members and customers’ product is critical to ensure that quality food ends up on dinner plates all over the globe. Global pandemic aside, our top priority is that our team members return home from work free from injury every day. No questions asked.

Our team members serve as a critical link in the food supply chain, and as COVID-19 started to spread significantly worldwide, we knew that we had to act fast to keep our team members safe and maintain operational continuity at our 300+ facilities across 12 countries.

Like many companies, we immediately stopped all travel and asked anyone who was able to do their job remotely to work from home, but we also needed a plan to keep our 15,000 essential workers safe – after all, as grocery store shelves emptied faster and faster, it was our frontline team members working tirelessly to make sure the food supply chain kept moving.

Not only did we partner with a leading expert from the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases (IGHID) to ensure our response was world-class, but we also developed a COVID-19 playbook and rolled it out across every facility around the globe in a matter of a week. While the playbook continues to evolve so our response is consistent with best practices and latest technologies, our COVID-19 action plan immediately addressed a few critical policies:

1. Mandatory face coverings

The mandate to wear face coverings includes anyone entering our facilities, including office staff, drivers and contractors. Each facility was supplied with an initial stock of both cloth and single-use masks, and we provided a resource for our sites to source additional, quick-access inventory.

2. Adherence to social distancing

All common areas were assessed and reorganized to allow for the 6 ft. rule in support of social distancing. Extensive visual management was also put into place throughout our facilities to ensure everyone keeps their distance.  

3. Enhanced sanitation measures

If a case of COVID-19 is found at a facility, the entire building is cleaned and sanitized according to CDC guidelines. Special attention is paid to high-contact surfaces such as doorknobs, touch screens, control panels and time clocks.

4. Adjusted sick leave and attendance policy

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, or who was in contact with a known COVID-19 case, is put on a mandatory 14-day quarantine. We also enhanced our sick leave policy to ensure team members are paid for their time outside of our regular sick policy.

5. Medical assistance in select locations

In areas with significant widespread community transmission we also made mobile medical units available to our employees and their families.

We know that COVID-19 is a novel virus, and we’re constantly adjusting our policies based on new information as it becomes available from the CDC. Yet these immediate resources represent our commitment to not only ensuring safety in the workplace, but also extending our commitment to safety in the communities where we live and work.

As restrictions lift across the globe it’s more important than ever that we don’t waiver on these policies or our commitment to keep our team members safe. It’s easy to get complacent. Many of us have been cooped up and away from our friends and family for a long time, and that can certainly take its toll. We’re eager to get back to normal – whatever normal means in the post-COVID era. Our new safety policies once felt foreign, but they’re now our new “normal”.

With that in mind, we developed a COVID checklist that is completed during each shift to ensure that we don’t become complacent when it comes to COVID safety. This internal audit assures our team members are adhering to social distancing, face coverings are being used, sanitation stations are stocked throughout the facility and the appropriate COVID best practices signage and visual management is in place.  

At Lineage, we have 15,000 reasons why safety is our number one value – our team members! I believe our swift implementation and diligent management of these policies has allowed Lineage to significantly mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our facilities and kept our team members and their families safe. Our actions over the past few months have reinforced our shared purpose, and we’re prouder than ever to help feed the world.