Why are meat processing plants such a specific problem area

It’s not only in the US that meat processing plants and abattoirs are hot spots. One of the places in Australia that flared up was a meatworks, and this in a country where community transmission was generally measuring [until a week ago] at less than a dozen cases per day.

Is it something specific in the nature of the work or the operating environment that causes increased likelihood of transmission? I understand in the US these are places using poorly paid, possibly illegal migrant or non-unionised labour that may be unwilling to rail against unsafe work practices, but I do not think that applies in the same way here.

I’m also aware of the Defense Production Act being used to indemnify meatworks owners and maintain production, which would not help, but does not explain why the transmission issue is so closely associated with them.

Please explain.

My understanding of the situation in the US is that meatpacking plants generally are staffed by low income people, who work in tight quarters with lots and lots of the same. There are socio economic aspects to the spread of the virus. For example, low income workers might rely on public transportation or carpooling. Travel in some form during a “quarrantine”.
Meatpacking employees ain’t working from home in their slippers.

Germany, too. The country that did so well handling the Coronavirus.

I can’t bother to find a citation, but these factors have been mentioned:

  1. Workers close together.
  2. Refrigerated work space
  3. Loud machinery means when people talk together they have to shout

In my experience, there’s also a reluctance to do anything that would reduce capacity in any way, citing that food production is essential.

You’d think that would mean they’d invest a lot more into separating people-getting them face guards, protective suits, partitions, air filters, etc. But I’ve not heard of any doing anything like that.