Massmart Puts Health And Safety At The Centre Of COVID-19 Response
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Behind every product we see on a store shelf there is a team of retail workers who got it there. From buyers, warehouse workers and drivers, to the merchandisers, packers, cashiers, and other crucial store operations staff. Retail workers play a key role in ensuring that we are able to access the products we need and want. The role they play is especially important during a pandemic such as COVID-19.
It’s essential now more than ever for retailers to put the health and safety of workers first, especially those who are on the frontline working hard to serve us in-stores. By ensuring that they are healthy and that their work environment is safe, retailers also create a safer shopping environment for their customers.
As a company that has always taken great pride in ensuring that their stores are safe and hygienic, as soon as Africa reported its first confirmed COVID-19 cases Massmart redoubled their health and safety measures and implemented new precautions at all stores.
New hygiene measures include ensuring that there are hand sanitizer stations at all entrances, exits and high risk touch points; issuing all cashiers with cleaning materials to regularly wipe their tills; wiping down all trolleys daily and also before handing them to customers; and conducting daily audits to ensure the correct execution of these practices.
To ensure that all frontline staff are safe while serving customers, Massmart issued personal protective equipment. This includes protective face shields for staff to wear at work as well as cloth masks for use outside of the store environment and when commuting to work. At the beginning of each shift staff health is screened and a digital temperature check is done. More recently Massmart developed an app that proactively tracks staff health and wellness. Called ScreenMe, the app’s key feature is a daily online health screening questionnaire that identifies employees that are potentially at risk and must self-isolate. In the event that a staff member becomes symptomatic, they go on a paid 14 day leave and receive free COVID-19 testing.
Massmart also manages the number of people per store. Staff work on a shift based schedule and footfall is managed by placing limitations on the number of customers allowed in each store based on the size of the store.
As the COVID-19 pandemic began forcing rapid social changes, Massmart’s trading brands adapted by speedily putting measures in-stores to help shoppers follow safe social distancing guidelines as stipulated by health and government officials. These include placing floor decals in queuing areas such as checkout points and store entrances to clearly indicate where customers should stand as they wait. To ensure that shoppers adhere to these measures Massmart’s trading brands make regular customer announcements remaindering shoppers to maintain social distancing practices.
Massmart continues to monitor the pandemic, complying with government directives and being flexible enough to quickly adapt and implement measures to protect the wellbeing of staff and customers.