Worker concerned about their health at busy meatworks

ONE of Ipswich's largest employers said it has implemented company wide procedures to limit the potential spread of coronavirus.

But a worker at the JBS Dinmore meat processing plant has spoken out, saying not enough is being done to protect the health of staff.

The Federal Government named meat and food manufacturing as essential industries and work continues to keep Australians fed.

JBS employs more than 2000 people at the Dinmore meatworks and processes 3,400 head of cattle a day, according to it website.

JBS Australia chief operating officer for the northern division Anthony Pratt said the health and safety of employees was the company's top priority.

"Our teams provide a critical and essential service in producing food for the country and the world during a time of need," he said.

"We have implemented company wide procedures, consistent with the advice of both national and state health authorities, to ensure we limit the potential spread of coronavirus and continue to operate our plants, factories, offices and feedlots.

"Our continued focus and priority in our business is around stringent hygiene, people and food safety, strong animal welfare outcomes and support for the communities in which we operate."

Mr Pratt said JBS Australia has put in place a team of "internal and external experts" including medical professionals to provide advice and guidance to the company.

"JBS Australia will continue to operate our facilities and ensure ongoing employment and high quality, safe food," he said.

"We have in place strong practices to protect the health and safety of our people."

One long-time worker at the Dinmore meatworks, who did not want to be named, said staff were worried about health with so many people working on the floor at once.

"Everybody is still working side-by-side," he said.

"At lunch, we're still sitting shoulder to shoulder at tables. It's crowded.

"We have two grandchildren. We're talking precautions at home. We are older and if we do get coronavirus, we're more at risk than someone who is younger.

"We're taking the precautions at home."

He said he was concerned about contracting coronavirus while at work and bringing it home to his wife and grandchildren.