Baking & Snack - February 2021 - 88

Social distancing employees at least 6 feet apart is recommended. When not
possible, bakeries often install plastic partitions to separate employees.
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help prevent some soft tissue injuries, but rotating employees
meant that if one person is infected with the virus, then others,
perhaps many others, would then become exposed, resulting
in a potential outbreak. "
While most areas of a bakery can easily adapt to social distancing, other processes like high-speed packaging require operators to stand closely together. In those instances, The Kroger
Co., Cincinnati, like many other food companies around the
country, found plastic partitions and PPE to be highly effective.
" In many of our bakeries on some of the lines, people have
to stand shoulder to shoulder, so any type of physical barrier that can provide some kind of protection for the associate while they have to work side by side is helpful, " said Jesse
Turner, senior director of human resources and manufacturing operations, corporate brands and manufacturing at The
Kroger Co.
To make space for people to take breaks safely, Kroger
also converted conference rooms and other workspaces into
breakrooms.
Temperature scans are also a common sight for those entering baking facilities. Some bakeries rely on an employee
stationed at the plant's entrance with a thermometer to check
temperatures before granting workers access, while others have
opted to invest in thermal scanners. According to Mr. Gabris,
Aryzta has incorporated thermal scanners. If employees run a
high temperature, they can test again after 10 minutes. A second high temperature sends the employee home. After more
than a quarter of a million scans, Mr. Gabris said the percentage of fevers has been low, but it deters employees from coming
to work sick.
" If they know we won't even let them in the front door with
a high temperature, they are more likely to just stay home and
call in than risk trying to come in, " he said.
Another aspect of the pandemic is empowering employees with a sense of confidence they can stay home when they
feel ill or test positive for the virus. Bakeries had to reevaluate
their attendance policies to accommodate CDC guidelines
for COVID-19 isolation and offer employees payment and
job security in the event they had to quarantine. Other unforeseen issues caused by the pandemic also came up in leave
policy conversations.
" You have to look at your leave and sick policy and adapt
it and be a good employer for people who suddenly don't
have daycare available, " explained Steve Katzenberger, chief
operating officer, Hearthside Food Solutions, Downers
Grove, Ill. " There were a number of policies that we had to
look to adapt and be as employee-friendly and adapt to the
current circumstances because the impact was tremendous
across all aspects of people's lives. "

Keeping lines open
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087_BS_Feb21_Safety.indd 88

Constant communication was also critical to keeping employees safe. Exchanging best practices between bakeries, from
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2/3/2021 8:56:30 AM


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Baking & Snack - February 2021

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