We picked a very interesting time to have our first Safety Issue.

We could have filled the entire magazine with COVID-19 coverage and how it affects all different areas of safety in the food and beverage industry. As you’ll see in our stories this month, we did cover it heavily.

But while the coronavirus is the here and now, other safety concerns are still important. Processors still need to be mindful of sanitation, slip and fall injuries, electrical and mechanical hazards, and physical violence. Day-to-day operations are still the highest priority, even as you work to protect employees and contractors from coronavirus.

That dual focus sums up the state of the industry pretty well right now: Coronavirus is an important concern and must be dealt with, but business as usual continues on. Food is pretty much the definition of an essential industry, and the actual production can’t be done remotely.

That puts employees at all levels in a difficult situation because food has to be made. Right now most processors are facing an increase in demand, which makes it even more difficult. Protecting workers while meeting production requirements is always an integral part of processing, and now more than ever.

We’re tackling that challenge in this issue. Here’s a lineup of what you can find as you make your way deeper into the magazine:

Our food safety expert, Rick Stier, examines how processors can keep employees safe to reduce transmission, maintain healthy business operations and maintain a healthy work environment.

Senior editor Sharon Spielman focuses on cleaning and its role in safety. Cleaning is not only an important part of fighting coronavirus, but also a safety consideration due to the potential for slip and fall injuries, as well as foodborne pathogens and other concerns.

In this article, senior technical editor Wayne Labs explores security. Although the coronavirus has dominated headlines recently, workplace violence and other physical attacks are still a major concern, as witnessed by the shooting at a Molson Coors Brewing Company in February.

Part of a good safety plan is being prepared for a disaster and recovering from it, as managing editor Rose Shilling shows in this article. While we think of disasters as hurricanes or tornadoes, there are a number of other possibilities that fall into that category, from fires to pandemics. You can’t always prevent them, but a good recovery plan can make all the difference.

Our safety coverage concludes with our annual site selection special supplement, written by me. It takes a look at three different safety-related aspects of the site selection and construction process: Safety and security concerns in the initial selection process, electrical and mechanical hazards, and how design-build firms and processors are keeping employees and contractors safe while building during the coronavirus pandemic.

Safety is always a top-of-mind concern for processors, regardless of the circumstances. It is our hope that we will help you understand and navigate the challenges of safety, from the parking lot to the production floor.