When it comes to your food, VersaCold employees are the first to care
Virtually every business has been forced to adapt to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As an essential service in the food industry, VersaCold has rapidly adjusted our processes so that we can continue to handle your food safely and effectively—and that starts with the health of our employees.
We spoke to Priya Patel, Cold Chain Assurance Manager for locations throughout Manitoba, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, and Santiago Reinoso, Manager, Warehousing Solutions at our Foothills facility in Calgary, Alberta, about how they’ve adjusted their work processes to comply with COVID-19 best practices to keep our employees and your food safe.
A new way of doing business
When dealing with temperature-sensitive food, health and safety procedures are always of the utmost importance. In quality assurance, Priya’s priority is keeping employees healthy, and that starts with prevention. Early on, Priya helped distribute a health questionnaire to any visitors to report symptoms and she became responsible for the ongoing monitoring and reporting of health issues to public health departments, tracking employee interaction history as necessary. Priya also continues to contribute to efforts by her broader team to stay up to date on the recommendations from health departments nationwide to ensure VersaCold facilities are compliant and up to date.
As quickly as possible, VersaCold made changes at all of our facilities including the implementation of rigorous sanitation and social distancing processes, installing plexiglass barriers where necessary, and continuously monitoring the health and well-being of employees across the board.
As Santiago explains, warehouses have many people coming and going by nature. At the facility he manages in Calgary, employees had to think about everyday activities in a whole new light. Something as simple as working inside an 8-foot-wide floor-load container became a much slower process because it is difficult to practice physical distancing within such a small space. Putting restrictions on visitors, limiting office capacity and staggering start times all helped to reduce social contact.
Keeping families in mind
Some of these changes brought unique challenges for Priya and Santiago. For example, at a warehouse facility where employees spend long periods of time stacking and labeling boxes, social interactions help get the work done quickly. Santiago encourages his employees to think about every coworker’s family as they go about their day.
“I prioritize what I do when I go out,” Santiago says of the time he spends outside of work. The knowledge that interacting with one person might risk the health of many, makes it easier to respect and remember physical distancing rules both at work and at home.
In Priya’s quality assurance role, she has had to adapt the process in which facilities are audited. Since travel restrictions prevent inspectors from visiting in person, Priya has become newly accustomed to taking detailed photographs and participating in video calls to ensure her facilities are audited and approved for risk assessment and health and safety.
Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, being adaptable and reacting to government recommendations has allowed VersaCold to conduct business safely and effectively. As Santiago says, “we’ve built a culture here where we want to look out for each other.”
The fact that we’ve been able to maintain business continuity is a testament to VersaCold employees who not only care about the families of their coworkers but also every family that receives the food we handle.
VersaCold Logistics Services is Canada’s largest company offering food-focused, temperatures-sensitive logistics services. If you have any questions or want to inquire about warehousing, transportation or other logistics needs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-563-COLD.