COVID-19: Poor Warehouse Pandemic Control Puts Us All at Risk

The growth of online shopping has caused tectonic shifts in business, the economy and society itself. Security has changed as well. Just looking at our own contracts over the years, there’s been a clear shift from high street towards warehouses, as is reflective of the retail landscape at large.

While COVID-19 has been devastating for brick and mortar retailers it has only accelerated the growth of online shopping and it is safe to assume that many of the customers who tried out online shopping for the first time over lockdown will continue to use it afterwards.

This year, more than any other, it is crucial that online retailers and the logistics and supply chain networks that sprawl from them do not put the cart before the horse during this period of growth. They must make security a priority, not just in the traditional sense, but also to help contain the pandemic.

Outbreaks in warehouses expose the dark side of online shopping

Warehouses and delivery companies have been on a hiring spree of temporary workers to meet the demands of COVID-boosted online shopping. Obviously, these are not roles that can be performed from home, which puts the workers in harm’s way – along with the customers that the goods are delivered to.

Shortly after Amazon’s Prime Day sale in October, an outbreak of COVID-19 was reported in one of their warehouses in Coventry. Similar outbreaks have occurred in warehouses operated by Tescos and Asda. A common theme in all the above cases has been workers whistleblowing cut corners in COVID safety procedures.

As with the security industry, self-employed and zero-hours workers can find themselves in a difficult position in this pandemic, weighing up isolating themselves versus going without pay in a tumultuous economy.

These incidences prompted the GMB Union to speak out on the dangerous disregarded for the safety of warehouse workers and the potential knock-on effects for the entire area they distribute to.

Amanda Gearing, Senior GMB Organiser said:

“If Amazon doesn’t want to be responsible for the further spread of this deadly virus, it needs to stop flooding facilities with agency workers to maximise profits, enforce social distancing and send anyone home on full pay who may be infected until either the 14 days is over or they test negative.”

We must not allow warehouses to become hives for COVID-19

Magenta Security recommends that warehouses ensure that all those involved in handling items – including delivery drivers and teams who load and unload vehicles – regularly disinfect their hands and maintain social distancing wherever possible.

Choke points at entrances and exits and throughout the warehouse must be identified and mitigated wherever possible and staff leisure areas should have clear markings to encourage social distancing and (as judges ruled) productivity quotas must not force workers into unsafe situations for fear of their employment.

Security guards who are patrolling sites can double as enforcers for COVID-19 safety measures. They have all the necessary training to identify and intervene in threats, whether those threats are burglars or microscopic viruses.

Many of our security guards have taken on and have been a natural fit for this essential role. We have also trained our security managers in COVID-19 risk assessment, giving our clients a one-stop-shop for mitigation and enforcement.

This is yet another example of the tireless efforts of our staff at the frontlines of this pandemic and we are proud to be making the country a safer place.

To book your COVID-19 risk assessment call us now on 0800 772 3786.


Magenta Security provide award winning security services throughout the UK. We are in the top 5% of ACS approved contractors and were the first security company in Europe to be awarded ISO 14001 for our environmental management systems.

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