UK citizens, businesses and the wider world are facing an unprecedented threat from the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As a leading retailer it is vital that we continue to supply customers with essential foodstuffs, medicines and other items at such a difficult time.
This article provides a summary assessment of Asda’s approach to reducing the risks associated with COVID-19, so far as is reasonably practicable. This approach extends to reducing risk to our customers, colleagues and others affected by our operations across the United Kingdom.
This also takes into account our position as an essential business required to maintain a service to customers in a time of great need. In determining appropriate control measures, Asda has regard to relevant Government guidance. Asda will continue to review its control measures as Government guidance develops.
Throughout this unprecedented situation Asda has consulted and taken feedback from a number of key stakeholders including:
- Government departments including the Department for Environment,
- Food and Rural Affairs and Public Health England;
- GMB union partners;
- USDAW union partners (Northern Ireland only);
- Colleague and management representative bodies; and
- Trade and industry bodies.
This has assisted Asda in designing and implementing the controls which are summarised
Asda has implemented a number of key risk controls across its stores, depots and offices which can be summarised as follows.
- Implemented social distancing guidelines;
- Physical screens placed in key areas of the workplace;
- Barriers in key areas, such as store entrances, to assist with social distancing; and
- Signage and posters to control social distancing standards. Cleaning the Workplace and Personal Hygiene
- Increased cleaning regimes for high touch contact areas;
- Sanitising equipment for use by colleagues and customers;
- Hand gels and handwashing facilities available for colleagues and customers;
- Mandatory wearing of facemasks, gloves, aprons and eye protection for higher risk tasks;
- Disposable gloves and face masks available to all colleagues who wish to wear them; and
- Visors available to colleagues in certain roles.
Managing Customers, Colleagues and Contractors
- Management structures allow oversight and regular supervision of the control measures;
- Management teams who are briefed/trained on the relevant guidelines;
- Monitoring programme to ensure compliance with risk controls;
- Communication via posters, tannoy announcements, training and videos;
- Reduced capacity at our retail outlets;
- Staggered work patterns, including meal and break times;
- Shielding of extremely vulnerable and vulnerable colleagues;
- Colleagues working from home, wherever possible; and
- Contractor control processes in place.
Risk Evaluation and Results
Based on our evaluation of the current controls, the risks associated with COVID-19 are reduced to as low as is reasonably practicable within our stores, depots and offices.