THE managing director of one of Worcester’s biggest employers has stressed it “does not ask people to work in conditions which we believe to be unsafe” after two staff tested positive for Covid.

Philip Kempson, managing director at Southco, has said the two people who contracted Covid were in a confined work area separate from the main manufacturing facility of the Wainwright Road-based firm.

An employee, who asked not to be named, claimed no deep cleaning was being done to keep other workers safe at the firm that employs more than 200 people.

But Mr Kempson said: “We have worked very hard as an employer to ensure we create a safe working environment for our employees that are unable to work from home.

"One employee informed us on Saturday, November 14, that they had tested positive for Covid-19, having shown no symptoms whilst in the workplace during the preceding week.

"A second individual working in the same enclosed area tested positive on Monday this week, having shown none of the NHS listed Covid symptoms.

"This individual had not been in the workplace since November 12.

"A third individual working in the same area, whose wife had showed symptoms over the weekend, has since tested negative for the virus on Monday, but is self-isolating anyway. 

"All of the above instances occurred in a confined work area.separated from our main manufacturing facility.

"This area was deep cleaned by an external specialist contract cleaning company over the weekend. 

"Our strict Covid protocols include cleaning and sanitisation of each work station throughout the factory, offices, all public areas and meeting rooms throughout the day.

"We also have ‘sanitisation stations’ located throughout all employee areas. 

"We have completed a full documented investigation with each of the affected individuals to help us fully support and take necessary steps to protect our wider workforce.

"This process allows us to ascertain who each of them came into contact with and for how long, with each instance being risk assessed against the government guidelines.

"As a result of these investigations and in accordance with our protocols of hand cleaning, social distancing, mask wearing, facility layout and regular sanitisation, we believe the risk to any other individuals in our facility to be extremely low. 

“However, out of an abundance of caution, we have requested that two additional individuals self-isolate for 14 days due to contact time of more than 15 minutes.

“To be absolutely clear, Southco will never ask people to work in conditions which we believe to be unsafe. 

“We strongly refute any allegations about us not taking steps to keep our workers protected.

“We keep our Covid procedures under constant review with a cross functional team of managers.”

Neither Southco nor Worcestershire County Council have said if Public Health England are working with the firm. 

Dr Kathryn Cobain, director of Public Health for Worcestershire, said: “We continue to work with our colleagues at Worcestershire Regulatory Services, to make sure that our businesses across the county, receive up-to-date support and guidance in order to ensure their premises remain COVID secure.”