Holbeach area factory defends its policies after footage shows workers flouting coronavirus rules
A food manufacturer says it is working hard to promote social distancing after footage showing staff not following the guidance.
The Spalding Guardian has received footage of staff at the Bakkavor Pizza site in Holbeach St Marks not observing the two-metre guidance to prevent the further spread of coronavirus.
Bakkavor says it has constructed a second canteen at the site to support social distancing, but on Friday this was closed due to a water leak.
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The company says it is promoting social distancing, along with redesigning the layouts of canteens and restrooms, as well as putting out briefings to staff.
A statement says: “We are adhering to Public Health England (PHE) guidelines for social distancing in our offices, rest, changing and ancillary areas, as well as the specific PHE guidance for distancing in food manufacturing businesses which recognises that all sites and manufacturing processes are different.
“These measures include the roll-out of staggered breaks, extending designated smoking areas and creating greater space between colleagues in factory and packing areas.
“We continue to audit ourselves against both our standard controls, as well as our enhanced COVID-19 protocols on both an announced and unannounced basis.
“We will not be issuing medical grade face masks unless there is a change to government guidance in this regard as we believe these should be prioritised to the NHS.
“We have been working on a new and innovative Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) solution for our colleagues. This new PPE is being trialled this week with a view to rolling it out across our sites imminently.
“Our priority is to protect our colleagues at work and the food we manufacture during this difficult time.
“As a freshly prepared food manufacturer with over 30 years’ experience, our established controls for managing both people and food safety within our manufacturing operations are robust and naturally provide a strong base to build our Covid19 controls on.
“All our colleagues are self-certified as fit to work and our normal handwashing procedures, as well as our high levels of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and hygiene, help to ensure a safe working environment.”
The company says it has also taken action at the Holbeach St Marks site to promote safety among workers.
It says: “Our Bakkavor Pizza site in Holbeach St Marks created an additional second canteen for its workers to support social distancing during breaks and this, in conjunction with a separate new factory access, has been successful in significantly reducing footfall in the main canteen and factory entrance.
“On Friday morning the second canteen had to be temporarily closed due to a water leak, with one break time affected, and both canteens are now running as normal and supporting social distancing.
“We are continually putting in place further measures to ensure we can keep our colleagues safe during this difficult time.”
The company has 25 factories across the country, along with sites in China and United States.
Last week, the company announced that it could be furloughing staff due to the impact of coronavirus.
The firm says COVID-19 has created significant operational challenges, with a reduction in UK orders.