Milking machine technicians ‘essential workers’ – but must observe protocols

Milk Quality Ireland has written to registered milking machine technicians in relation to new Government guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19.

In a statement yesterday, Sunday, March 29, Eamonn Farrell, the secretary of Milk Quality Ireland, said:

“The Government has stated that food production and care of animals is an essential service.”

It was noted that members of the Milk Quality Ireland register of milking machine technicians and bulk tank engineers are essential workers.

Their work involves the maintenance of milking equipment, which is an essential service, integral to the functioning of the milk production supply chain.

The secretary explained that milking machine technicians and bulk tank engineers are covered as essential workers on the list of essential service providers under new public health guidelines published over the weekend, on Saturday, March 28.

However, he stressed: “The Government guidelines are aimed at saving lives.

“Farmers, milking machine technicians and bulk tank engineers must ensure the work required over the period to April 19 is necessary and urgent and that when work is being completed the strictest possible protocols concerning physical distancing must be adhered to.”

Farrell advised milking machine technicians and bulk tank engineers – prior to entering the farm – to: contact the farmer by phone; enquire with the farmer if any of the household has the Covid-19 virus or is self-isolating; and to agree and confirm by phone that strict physical distancing will be followed during the farm visit.

The technician should then travel alone to the farm, where possible and ensure their vehicle is clean, stocked with gloves, disinfectant and hand sanitiser etc.

It is absolutely essential that the farmer and the technician strictly maintain a social distance of 2m at all times and the farmer should allow the technician to complete the job alone, where possible, Milk Quality Ireland concluded.