Louisiana plant worker dies of coronavirus

Louisiana plant worker dies of coronavirus
COVID-19 is commonly known as coronavirus (Source: AP)

LULING, La. (WAFB) - A contract worker at the Bayer Luling facility’s main plant has died of coronavirus, plant officials said Saturday.

Bayer operates two sites in Luling, Louisiana, which is located in St. Charles Parish. It has a main plant operation and a large construction site.

The contractor who died worked at the main plant.

Bayer officials say they have taken multiple steps to increase safety at both facilities as a result of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The company released the following statement:

Bayer’s first priority is the health and wellbeing of our employees, contractors, customers and communities where we live and work. We were saddened to learn of the death of a contractor working at our Luling, La., site. On Thursday, we were informed this individual tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Our thoughts and prayers go out to this individual’s family and loved ones.

Given the widespread nature of this pandemic, we have been preparing for this possibility for some time. As a result, our facility is fully prepared and has been taking the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our team and the community.

Health experts are on site contacting those with whom this person came into contact and identifying next steps to keep them and others safe. The contractor was last on our facility on Thursday, March 5, when he left the site after completing his work-week duties. At that time, he did not exhibit symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

The Luling facility, like all Bayer facilities, has been taking enhanced cleaning measures for some time. These include disinfecting common areas, limiting visitors, asking employees who can work at home to do so, while adopting other measures. This will continue for the foreseeable future, and we aim to continuously improve upon these measures as we work to maintain operations and protect the safety and wellbeing of our teams.

Officials added that the company has taken the following steps at the construction site:

Total staff at the site has been reduced by 50% from 1,500 to about 750 at any one time

  • Five different locations have been arranged for lunch; four tents and an additional trailer
  • In addition, staff who are eating lunch are each assigned 2.5 seats to ensure social distancing, and crews are assigned specific eating areas in order to limit exposure (in lunch areas and on buses)
  • Buses and meal areas are cleaned thoroughly between uses
  • Bus rides to the facility remain 10 minutes in duration, below the CDC’s 15-minute guidance
  • With limited availability of thermometers, we are checking staff members’ temperatures upon entry at most gates on site. Once additional thermometers are delivered next week (from back order), temperature checks will be instituted at all entrances
  • Enhanced cleaning measures have been instituted, including disinfecting common areas
  • All large group meetings have been suspended
  • All employees are required to wear gloves, eye protection and other protective gear at all times on site (as a condition of employment), including in the tool room.
  • Multiple wash stations have been added to the site

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