Worker in milking parlor.
September 10, 2020

What You Must, Should Do If An Employee Becomes COVID Positive

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

With COVID-19 cases continuing to increase across the country, particularly in the Midwest, there are things dairy farmer employers must and should do if an employee becomes positive with the disease.

In July, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) published recommended protocols for dairy farms when an employee tests positive. Reviewing that protocol now before an outbreak occurs in your area is prudent.

First and foremost, if the employee is onsite, send the employee home immediately. If the employee is home, do not permit the employee to come to work.

Inform other employees who worked “in close contact” with the infected employee, either verbally or in writing, that they may have been exposed to the virus. Keep the identity of the ill worker confidential. “In close contact” is defined as within 6’ for a prolonged period of time. Strongly consider sending those workers who were in close contact home for 14 days.

You also might have to make an Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) record/report if  you have a confirmed case of COVID-19, it is contracted due to an employee performing work-related duties and it meets other OSHA reporting standards (such as missing more than one day of work or medical treatment beyond first aid).

You should also notify the workers’ compensation carrier and provide claim forms to the infected employee.

NMPF’s Recommended Protocols for Dairy Farms When An Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19 can be found here.

For more NMPF resources on dealing with COVID-19, click here.