Safety & Work Culture

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Darigold and the Northwest Dairy Association are committed to ensuring employee safety amid the COVID-19 outbreak. While requirements vary across the four states in which we operate — with the most stringent being in Washington — we recommend following guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent further transmission of the coronavirus.

Best practices for preventing COVID-19 transmission

Hispanic man driving a green tractor with a trailer

Northwest Dairy Association producers have access to a variety of resources provided by several government and industry organizations. These include detailed public health protection protocols, management resources and education materials in both English and Spanish. Producers are encouraged to clearly communicate COVID-19 risks and mitigation strategies using posters like these provided by the CDC: how to prevent the spread of germs and how to safely wear and remove a face covering.

Best practices include but are not limited to:

  1. Developing a detailed COVID-19 response plan
  2. Practicing good hygiene and providing easy access to sanitizers and hand-washing stations
  3. Wearing face coverings and other PPE when working in close proximity with others
  4. Maintaining a social distance of at least six feet
  5. Conducting daily health checks
  6. Sending ill employees home
  7. Notifying all who come into contact with someone who has either tested positive for COVID-19 or had close exposure to someone who has tested positive
  8. Making health authorities, OSHA and insurance companies aware of any positive COVID-19 cases (with an emphasis on maintaining employee confidentiality)
  9. Providing employees with risk and mitigation instructions in both English and Spanish

Three men wearing masks milk cows in a milking parlor

For more information about on-farm safety recommendations, please contact Michelle.Carter@darigold.com. For inquiries about our plants and headquarters, contact Erin.Byrne@darigold.com.

Dairy Workplace Safety

In an apples to apples comparison, dairy work has a strong safety record. Labor and Industries rates show that work on dairy farms compares favorably to other live animal agriculture.

A reflection of core values that prioritize people ahead of business, NDA member farms are deeply committed to the safety of their dairy employees.

Co-op members take pride in supporting their rural communities by providing year-round jobs, a safe and positive work environment and good wages. This gives many workers valuable careers and the opportunity for advancement.  With teamwork, members and their employees provide customers with safe, high-quality nutritious food.

NDA co-op members:

  • Provide and maintain a secure, safe workplace free from recognized health and safety hazards, thereby minimizing the risk of accidents and injury.
  • Promote a workplace atmosphere free from discrimination and from physical or verbal harassment.
  • Provide an open door process that allows employees to resolve disputes, grievances and issues without fear or retaliation.
  • Adhere to all employment age laws and federal free association and collective bargaining law.
  • Provide employees with the training tools that enable them to perform their jobs in a safe manner.

Supporting Good Labor Practices

NDA member-owners work with a team of dedicated employees to care for the land and animals, and ensure high standards of operation. Like any business, dairy farms benefit from and strive to have satisfied, committed employees.

Dairies provide year-round employment opportunities for farm workers, unlike many agricultural industries.

NDA works to support continuous improvement of labor practices by providing HR management resources. The association works directly with farmer owners to evaluate and improve on-farm labor practices:

  • Professional third-party companies conduct hundreds of employee interviews every year to verify baseline conditions and identify opportunities to implement best practices. These interviews are conducted confidentially in the absence of farm owners and managers.
  • These evaluations provide documentation of on-farm management practices and generate continuous improvement plans. 
  • 100% of farms with five non-family employees or more have been through the comprehensive auditing program. Results demonstrate a good working environment on NDA member farms.