When I look around at the more than 3,700 Tyson Foods team members at the Finney County facility who I consider family, I am beyond proud of this team.  I also think about the important role I have in helping make this the safest place possible to work.

COVID-19 has disrupted our community and forced changes on us all, but these changes are to help keep us safe. As the complex manager of the Finney County facility, safety is a top priority. It’s a question I ask myself every day: how do I help keep all members of our Tyson community safe? How do we - a major employer and an essential business - operate in the best interest of our workers and consumers?

We’re working hard to protect our team members during this ever-changing situation, while also ensuring we continue fulfilling our critical role of helping feed people across the country and keeping thousands employed. We check worker temperatures and require all team members wear surgical masks that we provide daily to each employee at the start of his or her shift. We’ve implemented social distancing measures, such as installing workstation dividers and barriers in our break rooms and are requiring all locations have social distancing monitors, people who will help remind our team members of best practices.  We sanitize our facilities daily and have increased sanitizing for frequently touched surfaces such as doors and tables and encourage frequent and increased hand washing. In March, we relaxed our attendance policy to encourage people to stay home when they’re sick and we continue to remind them to follow CDC guidelines at home as well as at work.

Our team members have mandatory health care coverage and we’ve made changes by waiving a five consecutive day waiting period for Short Term Disability benefits so employees can receive pay while they’re sick with the flu or COVID-19. In addition, we’re waiving the co-pay, co-insurance and deductible for doctor visits for COVID-19 testing as well as eliminating pre-approval or preauthorization steps. We’ve waived co-pays for the use of telemedicine and are relaxing refill limits for 30-day prescriptions of maintenance medication.

No one should be fearful to go to work. Because our plants are already focused on the importance of food safety, we have always kept the environments within them clean through strict sanitary processes. During this time, we are increasing the frequency of and enhancing those processes even more. When coupled with all the other things we are doing in our plants, I truly believe they’re one of the safest places for a person to be. I want everyone in this community to know we are committed to maintaining a safe working environment at Finney County.

I am in awe of the continued hard work and commitment this Tyson Foods team has shown, so thank you. I am also grateful for the surrounding communities for the continued support.  Please know I remain committed to the safety of all our team members.  We will get through this together.

Tony Lang is the Tyson Foods complex manager for Finney County’s plant.