Baking & Snack - February 2021 - 91

transparency with employees eased anxieties and helped
employees trust that management was doing everything it
could to keep them safe.
After a Kroger manufacturing facility had to be closed
and thoroughly sanitized following an influx of positive
COVID-19 tests, Mr. Dwyer and his team recorded the
cleaning procedure implemented by the third party hired
to sanitize the facility. When employees returned to the
sanitized facility, they were able to watch the recording and
see the lengths Kroger went to in order to maintain everyone's health.
" That went a really long way to alleviating some of the
concerns and fears, " he said.

al employee aware that they are responsible for their own
safety, " Mr. Gabris said.
While companies obviously want to educate employees
and engineer out risk and danger to keep employees safe,
these efforts will only go so far in the absence of worker
awareness and compliance. Social distancing as a practice has put bakery employees on alert to their surroundings and helped them prioritize safety. And witnessing the
spread of the virus has shown how everyone's actions impact others.
" I believe the silver lining here is that safety will take on
a higher purpose and a more business critical role after we
finally put this pandemic behind us, " Mr. Anderson said.

The coronavirus has
added a new layer
to employee safety
beyond protecting
employees from
automated equipment
and slips and falls.
Ditsch USA

*

A safe way forward
Looking ahead, this pandemic will have
lasting impacts on employee safety programs. The meticulous attention that
baking companies have paid to detail
necessary to keep associates healthy and
communicate their procedures may endure beyond the pandemic.
" That sense of trust that was developed
over time was very beneficial and that
caring atmosphere would either develop
or become more apparent, and through
this, employees came to realize management considered them to be essential
employees, " Mr. Anderson said. " Dialog
between management and employees
became more open and constructive and
helpful, especially when it came to preventing exposure to the virus. "
Another effect of COVID-19 on employee safety that is revealing itself is a
heightened awareness of safety, from
the company and the employees themselves. Kroger, Hearthside and Aryzta all
reported that, even though their injury
reports are typically low, their incidence
rates have fallen even more since the
pandemic.
" I think COVID-19 has made everyone and, most importantly, the individu-

www.bakingbusiness.com / February 2021 Baking & Snack 91


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Baking & Snack - February 2021

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