Baxi pulls out all the stops - and denies putting workforce at risk

Lancashire-based boiler giant Baxi is pulling out all the stops to keep production going and support homes, hospitals and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 12:08 pm
Baxi's factory at Bamber Bridge

And the firm has denied claims it is putting employees’ health at risk by not ensuring social distancing.

The assembly line at the Bamber Bridge-based firm will be closed until Wednesday Apil 1 owing to supply chain restraints, and will then restart at half strength.

Days ago the firm was contacted by a supplier that had been asked for 32 hot water heaters to equip NHS isolation units.

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Although Baxi had run out of stock, staff realised how critical these water heaters would be for the NHS, and pulled out all the stops.

The manufacturing schedule was immediately changed to prioritise these important products, and the order was fulfilled within a few hours – compared with the standard lead time of 10 days.

Meanwhile, The Post has received emails from Baxi employees saying that they felt vulnerable because social distancing was not being observed in the Club Street factory.

Today Baxi said it had done everything possible to safeguard the welfare of its employees.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, many employees have been asked to work from home where possible.

But many on the factory floor have no choice but to carry on.

And some claim that the Government’s advice to keep a distance of two metres between each worker is not being observed.

One worker said: “At Baxi, the boilers factory in Bamber Bridge works without any restrictions.

“ What it means is 22 people together at the same production line with a distance of only 20 cm between them.

“There are six production lines.

“There are people who cough but are not sent home – they are just moved to other positions .”

A spokesman for Baxi denied that employees’ health was being put at risk.

The spokesman said: “At this time, our highest priority is the safety of all our valued colleagues, and we are implementing a raft of measures to comply with government guidelines.

“These steps include: All office-based and field-based colleagues have been issued with health and safety guidelines and, where appropriate, PPE to reduce the risk of infection or contamination

“We are still manufacturing heating and hot water products for UK homes, businesses and hospitals.

" However, in order to keep our colleagues safe, we have spread out our production lines to ensure there is at least two metres between our operatives.

“Colleagues who can, are working from home.

“We have restricted UK and international travel, limited meetings, or moved them online, and cancelled events and exhibitions for the foreseeable future."