Food packing company in Banbury says its Covid-19 measures are robust, despite worrying photos from former worker

The ex-worker took photos showing the difficulty workers at HelloFresh face with social distancing

By Roseanne Edwards
Friday, 4th September 2020, 2:06 pm
Updated Friday, 4th September 2020, 2:12 pm
HelloFresh's food packing company in Banbury.
HelloFresh's food packing company in Banbury.

A food packing company in Banbury says its Covid-19 measures are robust, ddespite worrying photos from former worker.

The photos, seen by the Guardian, show the difficulty workers at HelloFresh face with social distancing, as well as PPE equipment on the floor.

But the company says it has increased its cleaning regime and brought in special Covid officers to make sure people are following strict protocols.

The Banbury Guardian has run previous stories from former workers at HelloFresh about their concerns over people not sticking to Covid-19 guidelines.

The company has always maintained that it works hard to make sure people adhere to the strict protocols it has set out to protect its staff.

HelloFresh said it has doubled its canteen space and staggered entry, exit and break times, among other measures.

The worker who sent in the photos - which we have decided not to publish to protect the privacy of the workers - lasted two days before leaving, describing the lack of Covid-19 observance as worrying.

The man, who worked on the assembly lines for a day and left the following day, said guidelines to keep people safe were not being adhered to.

It is understood staffing has been increased considerably since HelloFresh started a recruitment drive in March to increase the workforce from 100 to 500.

But the former worker said some PPE - masks, gloves, hair and beard nets - were discarded on floors and outside. Hairnets and masks were worn incorrectly, he said, with hairnets on top of hoods and hats which were worn because of the cool conditions on the food assembly line.

The man described crowding during clocking-on and -off areas as 'severe'.

"People are trying to leave at the end of their shift and others are starting and are having to enter at the same point at the same time," he said.

"People are bumping into each other, shoulder to shoulder including people not wearing masks correctly or hairnets."

A spokesman for HelloFresh said: “We continue to work extremely hard to ensure that all our staff, including agency staff, are fully aware of our strict protocols on full and correct use of PPE and their responsibility to comply with this on site.

"We have invested in doubling our canteen space, staggering entry, exit and break times and ensuring sanitizer is freely available at a large number of points throughout the site.

"We have increased our cleaning regime to clean all areas before, during and after shifts and have introduced COVID officers to address any non-compliance with our strict protocols.

"We will always continue to look at further measures, including introducing further shift entry and exit terminals for staff to ease crowding and, having already made white coats non-mandatory, we will be removing them from site completely. We continue to focus on the safety and wellbeing of all our staff.”