One of the first manufacturers to launch mass testing within the workplace has praised Lancashire County Council’s COVID-19 mass testing model SMART – Sustained Meaningful Asymptomatic Repeat Targeted testing -following the latest roll out of the service at its Accrington site.
The Vita Group, the UK’s leading providers of polyurethane foam, started its first mass testing back in December and has just completed a specialist training programme for a team of its employees to conduct testing for their colleagues.
This testing – which delivers results in just 30 minutes – is especially important for key businesses which need to stay open during lockdown. Vita, which employs 500 people in the North West (2,700 across Europe) and is headquartered in Middleton, Manchester, has remained open during lockdown. As a key supplier of PU foam in medical mattresses, filtration for ventilators and added value materials used in assorted medical and hygiene applications, it produces vital components for a range of sectors, including healthcare and hygiene.
This is the second time the SMART system has been undertaken at the Accrington site, following a first visit before Christmas. On the first occasion, members of the army undertook lateral flow tests on Vita staff while also training several employees to undertake subsequent tests on their colleagues. The company has now taken on responsibility for undertaking all tests in future.
In total 182 Vita staff have been tested, so far it has identified only one positive test where the individual was asymptomatic. The correct procedure was enacted (the employee self-isolated, booked an NHS test, their workplace was deep cleaned, anyone who had been in close contact was asked to self-isolate).
Speaking on behalf of The Vita Group, Quality Manager Michael Worden said, “I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to Lancashire County Council, the Ministry of Defence and the Vita team for making the lateral flow testing at our Accrington site run so well. This is a great way for businesses to ensure their colleagues and wider communities are as safe as possible in the current environment.
“Getting a rapid test result gives reassurance that you’re doing all you can to protect your family and workmates. From a corporate viewpoint it means that should a positive result be received we can act rapidly to reduce the risk of any further transmission, which is especially important given the current concerns regarding the new strains of COVID-19 in circulation.”
Georgia Wilson, a member of Vita’s testing team, added, “The mass testing at businesses such as ours is a brilliant idea and helps provide peace of mind to everyone who takes part. I’m really happy to have undergone training to perform the tests myself – it means I can do my bit in supporting the health and wellbeing of my colleagues, friends and family.”
Built on 70 years of heritage, The Vita Group develops, manufactures and markets a wide range of flexible polyurethane foam, Talalay latex and flooring products to create comfort, quality and functional solutions for customers. Its materials are used in products across a range of sectors, from bedding to office and household furniture, mobility markets and the significant new sectors of medical and hygiene, allowing the Group to achieve its purpose of “Creating comfort, delivering performance and enhancing everyday life”.