Date: July 2020
At Tiger Brands, our people are our biggest asset. Through them, we deliver on our purpose to nourish and nurture more lives everyday. The wellbeing of our staff and their families is therefore extremely important to us. We are committed to providing a safe working environment and protecting all employees from harm as far as reasonably possible and have introduced very rigorous measures to help protect all our people throughout this pandemic which are aligned to the protocols and regulatory requirements as mandated by the DOH and the NICD. This includes protocols for sanitization and enhanced hygiene across all factories, measures to promote physical distancing such as staggering shifts, and have provided private transport for staff to limit their exposure.
In addition to paying for Covid-19 tests conducted by the company, no employee will be impacted from a salary perspective if they have to self-isolate as a result of testing positive for Covid-19 or because of exposure to someone with Covid-19. No employee is permitted to go to work while they are awaiting Covid-19 test results and if an employee tests positive, he/she is not permitted to return to work within 14 days and until he/she tests negative.
These processes are implemented in an extremely robust way and are closely monitored. Given the seriousness of the pandemic and the deliberate approach taken by the company to protect its employees, anyone found to have breached these processes faces disciplinary actions. To this end, employees are encouraged to make use of our ethics hotline to report any colleagues who may be contradicting any of these directives on 0800 808 080 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Ethics Line is independently managed to protect the anonymity and confidentiality of whistleblowers and is open to all employees and the general public, as per our whistleblowing policy that’s aligned to South Africa’s legislation.
Food manufacturing forms part of essential services within South Africa. Therefore, we have followed a pre-emptive preparatory approach to quickly, safely and responsibly respond to both suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19 among employees. This includes a well-developed Health and Safety protocol specifically designed for Covid-19, which is inclusive of the steps that each site will follow in the case of a suspected or confirmed Covid-19 case. It is also important to note that Covid-19 is a notifiable disease and that in the event of a confirmed case of Covid-19, the protocols outlined by the Department of Health and the NICD are triggered.
Focused Employee Safety during All Levels of the National Lockdown
We have implemented the following measures during the National Lockdown.
- Increased health screening for all our staff at each factory including thermometer heat temperature detection cameras installed as part of our screening protocols.
- Procured private transport for staff at our factories for their commute to and from work, ensuring that strict hygiene protocols are followed for sanitizing vehicles and physical distancing guidelines are adhered to in line with regulations to limit the exposure of our people;
- Provided masks and hand sanitizers for additional safety & hygiene support to staff and for their families;
- Shifts have been staggered where possible to ensure appropriate physical distancing.
- Over and above the current rigorous hygiene and safety protocols in place, all common areas such as canteens, ablution facilities and change rooms are sanitized 7 times a day, while surfaces across the entire facility (e.g. door handles, tables, cabinets, chairs and floors) are disinfected 6 times. All offices and factories are fogged once a week.
- Amplified and enhanced health & safety awareness around Covid-19 across the organisation, through verbal, print, digital and mobile communication channels;
- Brought-on additional support through our wellness service provider to support staff across the organisation.
Managing Covid-19 cases
- In the event of a positive Covid-19 case, we conduct an intensive decontamination process through an approved and accredited service provider, and we are issued with a certificate for the work done. This is done in line with government regulations and protocols;
- We facilitate contact tracing to expedite the process of finding and testing exposed individuals to help prevent the spread of the virus. The DoH, NICD and our union partners are kept informed of how the situation is being managed;
- All employee Covid-19 tests conducted by Tiger Brands is paid for by the company.
- There is no loss of income to any employee who has either tested positive or had to self-isolate as a result of being a close contact to a Covid-positive employee.
- All employees have access to 24-hour counselling support (individual, group and family)
These above initiatives have been funded in part from an executive salary sacrifice by our Executive Committee and Board.