O’Brien Fine Foods – Covid-19
Frequently Asked Questions

 

Is your warehouse open?

In consultation with the HSE, our warehousing facility and minimal related operations have been functioning at significantly reduced capacity levels to manage perishable goods.

What measures are in place to protect your workforce?
Since the first cases of Covid-19 were identified in Ireland last February, we have implemented a rigorous and comprehensive health and safety policy as advised and inspected by the HSE. 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 – additional cleaning personnel were contracted on site. We were also fully audited by the relevant inspectors during this time with no issues identified.

All employees have received full pay for any Covid related illness or absence and continue to receive their normal pay in full during this period when operations are suspended. We continue to communicate regularly with employees during this difficult period to provide reassurance with detailed staff updates in several languages continually shared.

As a precautionary measure, we have suspended all processing operations at our Timahoe, Co Kildare facility (as of 9pm Wednesday, 5 August) in the best interests of employee and public health.
We will continue to follow public health advice and take every necessary action in cooperation with the HSE and Department of Health.

Are your staff being paid during the suspension of production?
As per our Covid-19 policy since the beginning of the pandemic, all employees have received full pay for any Covid related illness or absence, and this applies to all diagnosed cases, suspected cases, and close contacts.
Employees continue to receive their normal pay in full during this period when operations are suspended.

Where are your workers from?

All of our processing employees in Timahoe are full-time team members with Irish contracts. 90% of our team are EU nationals, with over one-third from Ireland. All team members are provided with personal protective equipment and all other necessary clothing/equipment to enable them to undertake their responsibilities in line with health and safety requirements and public health guidance.

Is it safe to consume your product?
All our products are produced to the highest standards following Food Safety Authority of Ireland guidelines. The FSAI reports that no reported cases of Covid-19 have been linked to contamination of food.
Since the first cases of Covid-19 were identified in Ireland last February, we have operated with an abundance of caution and a rigorous and comprehensive health and safety policy has been implemented. Public health advice to all consumers is to maintain good health and safety practices, to regularly wash hands and follow the official guidance.

Am I at risk of contracting Covid-19 by handling your product?
All our products are produced to the highest standards following Food Safety Authority of Ireland guidelines. The FSAI reports that no reported cases of Covid-19 have been linked to contamination of food.
Since the first cases of Covid-19 were identified in Ireland last February, we have operated with an abundance of caution and a rigorous and comprehensive health and safety policy has been implemented. Public health advice to all consumers is to maintain good health and safety practices, to regularly wash hands and follow the official guidance.

Are those living close to your production facility at risk?
As per HSE guidance, the main source of Covid-19 transmission is through close contact with an infected case.
Our policy from the outset has been to follow the official guidance from NPHET and the health authorities and we continue to advise this among our employees and all our stakeholders.

Does this impact other processing facilities?
There are currently no confirmed cases across the wider business. We continue to implement a rigorous and comprehensive health and safety policy across our business as advised and inspected by the HSE.

Have all staff been tested?
On 01 August 2020, we initiated engagement with the Health Service Executive (HSE) and took what we believe was the most responsible decision to test all employees which was coordinated by the HSE and a private provider to expediate testing.
All staff working on site have been tested.
Those who have tested positive have been advised to isolate as per the official guidance and full risk assessment and contract tracing procedures are underway. All close contacts of those affected are being notified, advised to self-isolate and to contact their GP.

How many people work at your Timahoe processing site?
Since the first cases of Covid-19 were identified in Ireland last February, and in line with our health and safety policy, all non-operations employees have worked from home.
The remaining 306 employees have continued to work on site at Timahoe under a rigorous and comprehensive health and safety policy as advised and inspected by the HSE.

How long will production be suspended?
The decision to suspend all processing operations is a precautionary measure. Following consultation with the HSE, our warehousing facility will operate at minimum staffing and capacity levels. A further comprehensive deep clean of the facility has been completed and a full risk assessment process has commenced in the interest of employee and public health. We will continue to follow public health advice and take every necessary action to comprehensively address the risk, in cooperation with the HSE and Department of Health.