- Why is Newclay Products staying open?
We have no plans to close whilst the following conditions are met:-
– We can provide a healthy and safe working environment for our employees in line with Government advice, including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
– Our customers want to buy our products and can take delivery.
– Our supply chain is able to deliver us the materials we need to make and pack our products.
– Our work cannot be done by working from home.
– We are not being forced to close by the UK Government.
- How are you keeping your workers healthy and safe?
In addition to the Health and Safety measures and procedures we already had in place, we have carried out a thorough assessment of the risks posed specifically by coronavirus. This is based on the advice and guidance given to us by the UK Government and the HSE, and can be summarised as follows:-
– All our employees and agency workers have their own individual and separate means of travel to and from the workplace. Nobody needs to use buses, trains, or other forms of transport that could increase the risk of infection.
– All our employees and agency workers are able to distance themselves from each other to meet the social distancing requirements and must maintain a 2 metre separation at all times.
– We have, temporarily, relaxed the rules regarding the location and timing of breaks. There must be no more than two people at a time in and around the tea-room, and only one person at a time in the kitchen area. This has been achieved by staggering the times of tea-breaks and lunch breaks and, if necessary, starting and finishing times will also be staggered.
- Aren’t you putting profit before safety?
No, not as far as Covid-19 and coronavirus are concerned alongside the many other hazards and risks in our workplace, which include machinery, chemicals and forklift truck operations. As required under health and safety law, the risks associated with all workplace hazards are subjected to suitable and sufficient risk assessment, with appropriate control measures put in place to mitigate those risks as far as is reasonably practicable. In this we follow the advice of the HSE, see question 2.
- Are any of your products made in countries with high levels of Covid-19 infection?
No. All our products are made in our own premises in the UK.
- Do you source raw materials from countries with high levels of Covid-19 infection?
With one exception, a material imported directly from Germany, all our raw materials are sourced from UK manufacturers and distributors. They source products from manufacturers all over the world, including areas affected by coronavirus.
- Are your suppliers increasing stock of the materials you buy?
Some are, others are not, yet, depending on how they assess the risk to their own operations. Our suppliers tell us they have stocks to cover us for a [short] period and we currently have plenty of stock. Whilst free movement of goods around the world is allowed, this situation is unlikely to change.
- Are you currently experiencing any supply chain issues related to coronavirus, or do you expect problems in future?
No, but we are closely monitoring the situation. Whilst free movement of goods around the world is allowed, this situation is unlikely to change.
- Do you have alternative suppliers or production capabilities that can be used to minimise impact on the supply chain?
Many of our raw materials are commodity items for which there are alternative suppliers or even alternative raw materials available. Others are speciality materials with no readily available alternatives; it is these we will increase stocks of if necessary in the first instance.
- Do you foresee disruption to your operation as a result of higher demand for your products?
Our products are not considered to be liable to potential panic-buying or hoarding. Demand is currently down overall due to schools being closed. Once they reopen and other restrictions are lifted, we are likely to be impacted by sudden latent demand.
- Have you or your employees travelled to areas affected by coronavirus?
Not as far as we know in terms of foreign travel and definitely not in the last month. There will be business travel for the foreseeable future, other than travel to work as allowed by the Government.
- Do you expect staff shortages?
Probably. We have been experiencing problems for over a year due to issues trying to get reliable workers – Covid-19 will not help.
- What is your plan to mitigate the effects of staff shortages?
Employers have been advised to expect up to 20% of employees to be off sick at any one time. This would be difficult for us, but is manageable if we assume any individual employee is off sick only once due to Covid-19. We have contingency plans to mitigate these factors through the use of temporary workers, overtime, etc., if required.