A FIRM that is battling to control an outbreak of Covid-19 at their depot has defended its approach after criticism from staff.

As The Press reported yesterday, Clipper Logistics in Barlby Road, Selby, confirmed the outbreak following a report the previous day that North Yorkshire County Council and Public Health England (PHE) were investigating cases at an unnamed workplace.

Subsequently, members of staff, who wished to remain anonymous, approached the paper to say the company should be doing more to protect their safety.

One worker said: “People are worried about coming to work.

"The majority of the workforce are aged between 20 and 35 and haven’t had a vaccine.

"There are too many people working in a small area and they aren’t social distancing properly.”

They claimed staff have not been told how many people have coronavirus, but believed that about ten of about 700 staff who work there have contracted Covid, but many staff, despite being asked not to do it, continue to car share and that’s having an impact on infection rates.

He said employees work shifts and come from far and wide so they are not always able to get public transport to work and called for the company to put on buses so employees could get to work safely in and social distance properly.

A spokesperson for Clipper, which, among other things, runs a returns management service for online fashion retailer, ASOS, said they are taking measures to try and protect staff including staggering shift times.

She said: “As the health and wellbeing of our staff is our number one priority, we are maintaining our social distancing protocols, conducting daily on-site testing and communicating regularly with staff and the Environmental Health Officer, who has visited the site in the last week and verified our approach.

“Our warehouse initiatives include stringent social distancing measures and cleaning regimes across the shop floor, communal areas and outside spaces, including daily deep cleaning via fogging, in line with the guidelines from the Government and Public Health England.

"Warehouse operations have also been altered to accommodate one-way systems to ensure there is no cross-over of colleagues, whilst picking and packing desks have been spread out so colleagues are able to socially distance.

"Team members are also provided with hand sanitiser and masks.

"The start and end times of shifts have been staggered, with marked ‘entry’ and ‘exit’ areas.

“Clipper has been working closely with Public Health England and the North Yorkshire County Council to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of all team members on site is protected.

"Daily on-site testing has commenced and will continue for two weeks following the initial rise in Covid-19 cases.”

Louise Wallace, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health, said: “This outbreak only serves to highlight that Covid-19 is still circulating among the population and shows how easily the rate can spike. So, as lockdown eases, we must all make every effort to follow the guidance around hands, face, space and fresh air, as well as taking up vaccination when it is offered.

“Our plea to everyone is to be extremely careful and to keep following the regulations until it is safe to resume a more normal way of living – we have come too far and made too many sacrifices for this effort to be wasted now.”