HORSE CAVE, Ky. (WBKO) -- UPDATE
Dart Container Corporation released the following:
"Late yesterday the Kentucky Labor Cabinet's (KLC) Department of Workplace Standards (DWS) ordered the temporary closure of Dart's Horse Cave, KY, facility after DWS inspectors observed instances of some employees not fully observing social distancing (six feet minimum). At this time, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 related illness at our Horse Cave facility.
"Dart has been extremely proactive and diligent in implementing preventive measures* recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including social distancing requirements," explained CEO Jim Lammers. "Unfortunately, during their unannounced visit, DWS inspectors observed some of our employees not fully complying with social distancing guidelines. We're working collaboratively with the KLC to resolve this matter as soon as possible so we can resume production of food & beverage packaging and face shield components to help in the fight against COVID-19," Lammers said.
"Prior to receiving the shutdown order, the Horse Cave plant was preparing to manufacture up to 80,000 face shield components per day starting this weekend for use by healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients. The Commonwealth of Kentucky and the US Department of Homeland Security have identified the food & beverage packaging industry as "essential critical infrastructure" during the COVID-19 outbreak.
"We're eager to continue serving hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities, communities providing food to students who normally rely on schools for daily meals and many more critical organizations," Lammers stated. 'We want to resume our crucial role in helping reduce the spread of germs with individual-use food & beverage packaging to help flatten the curve of the pandemic, and provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to our frontline healthcare heroes."
*Preventive measures at Dart manufacturing facilities include:
• Observing social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from coworkers).
• Requiring employees not to report to work if they are sick and to immediately leave our facilities if they begin to feel ill during their shift. We also allow employees who'd prefer to stay away from work to do so without affecting their position.
• Suspending staff meetings
• Taking prompt action whenever we have been notified that one of our employees has tested positive for COVID-19 or been diagnosed by a member of the medical community as "suspected" or "presumed" positive, in the absence of a positive COVID-19 test result.
"Our actions include requiring coworkers who were exposed to the employee in question to self-quarantine for the requisite period of time. Out of an abundance of caution, we even temporarily closed two of our plants - in Chicago, IL and Waxahachie, TX - so we could ensure that the sites were sanitized and safe.
"Additional steps Dart is taking to ensure compliance with the Governor of Kentucky's COVID-19 executive order include:
• Not operating production lines where we can't ensure that social distancing can be consistently observed.
• Requiring Director or Vice President approval if two or more people have to work within six feet of each other to complete critical safety-related maintenance or repairs. If so, we'll provide additional PPE.
• Taking measures to impress upon employees the importance of social distancing for their safety and that of their coworkers, including disciplinary actions if warranted.
"Dart employs 1,350 people at its Horse Cave facility and has been operating in Horse Cave since 1980. Dart has 15,000 employees in more than 30 locations worldwide."
According to Dart Container, as of April 3 at 10 p.m., the Dart Container Plant in Horse Cave ceased operations for an undetermined amount of time.
First shift employees for April 4th will not report for work.