A POULTRY plant in Norfolk has reopened its doors – following a coronavirus outbreak in August – with extensive new measures to protect its staff against Covid-19.

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Banham Poultry – which accounts for 7% of UK chicken processing – took the decision to close its operations voluntarily when nearly 100 members of its 1000 staff tested positive for the virus.

With new state-of-the-art products installed to disinfect staff and record body temperatures, Banham Poultry has since been deemed the 'safest' food processing site in the region by the Health and Safety Executive.

Sanitation and disinfection expert MYDIS have installed five 'portals' at the entrances to Banham factories and offices. These walk-in booths are equipped with artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to identify employees and check their body temperatures. Users walk through the booth and their outer layers are covered in a fine mist of vaporised disinfectant before they enter the building.

Banham also uses the specialist's fogging machines, portable hand-held machines that spray a fine mist of disinfectant. All staff facilities are ‘fogged’ daily, with high-use areas, such as cafeteria and bathrooms, sprayed three to four times per day.

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Managing director of Banham Poultry, Blaine van Rensburg, said: “Health and safety has always been of paramount importance to us at Banham, but the pandemic has prompted to us evolve our protections. The Covid-security of our site is not negotiable to us, so we’ve worked with MYDIS to implement a range of best in class measures.

“Only four of the staff who tested positive had coronavirus symptoms, and these developed after their positive tests, so we’re determined to be on the front foot moving forward by ensuring we’re detecting high-temperatures at the door of all our facilities and regularly sanitising and disinfecting all areas as frequently as possible.

Director at MYDIS, Terri-Ann Boyle, added: “With more than twenty years’ of experience in the disinfection industry, we are putting our expertise to good use to ensure Banham Poultry is a safe and Covid-secure site for all staff and customers. Banham Poultry sets the tone for what a Covid-secure site should look like as we continue to battle the pandemic."

Banham has enhanced social distancing measures in amenities and production lines with increased signage and screens. It has also installed door handles which automatically dispense hand sanitiser when touched.