OPERATIONS at the VLE Saleyards at Pakenham and Leongatha are already at a high level of COVID-19 compliance but they’ll upgrade measures to segregate staff, stock agents, buyers and processors as the spotlight is turned firmly on the processing sector.
Especially so after the Premier’s announcements on Monday this week about cutting meat processing operations by a third, limiting meat workers to one site and requiring the use of PPE during processing operations.
It’s mainly at the abattoirs, processing plants and meat stores where the risk of coronavirus is most acute but as an interface area, saleyards are also having to maintain high standards as well, especially controlling the access of unauthorised people to saleyards sites.
Sale days at both Pakenham and Leongatha have continued on schedule; Pakenham prime on Monday, stores on alternate Thursdays (including this Thursday, August 6) and Leongatha on Wednesdays (prime weekly) and stores on alternate Fridays (next sale Friday, August 14) but there are strict controls and security around who can attend on site.
These arrangements are expected to be ramped up from this week onwards to include mandatory use of masks and strict controls on social distancing and segregation.
These arrangements no doubt present challenges for both buyers and stock agents.
It is, however, an industry where hazards exist and maintaining a physically safe as well as healthy workplace requires common sense measures.