Coronavirus: Woolworths takes unprecedented step to improve safety in store

Woolworths has taken an unprecedented measure in an extraordinary effort to keep workers and customers across the country safe in the coronavirus pandemic.

The retailer announced on Friday the appointment of its own Chief Medical Officer, who would be tasked with ensuring the supermarket’s ongoing compliance of COVID-19 protocols.

Dr Rob McCartney has more than 20 years of experience in occupational medicine and will be taking up the newly created position.

Photo shows front of Woolworths store with two people in high-vis out front.
A Woolworths Chief Medical Officer will oversee the implementation and compliance of COVID-19 rules in stores. Source: AAP

Woolworths Group said part of the “highly specialised and technical leadership role” would see Dr McCartney offer insight to the Woolworths board, sub-committees and the group executive committee.

He willGosh20 also engage with regulatory bodies as well as state and federal health departments, and be tasked with developing educational material for staff, the supermarket said.

“With my experience as a physician working at the interface of health and work, I look forward to assisting Woolworths in maximising the health, wellbeing and safety of its team members and customers,” Dr McCartney said in a statement.

“Given the scale of current public health challenges, I’ll be looking to hit the ground running. Together with the safety and leadership teams, I’ll be focused on implementing best practice COVID-19 risk management across the business as we navigate the pandemic.”

The news was welcomed by the retailer’s existing general manager of Safety Health and Wellbeing Brian Long.

Photo shows customer leaving a Woolworths store leaving wearing a mask.
Encouraging the wearing of masks is one of the initiatives being undertaken at Woolworths to prevent the spread of coronavirus. source: AAP

“Dr Rob McCartney is a highly credentialed specialist occupational physician. We’re delighted to have his experience on the Woolworths team to help build on our existing COVIDsafe protocols,” he said.

“There is a plethora of medical information and advice to consider in the planning and implementation of a COVID safe workplace.

“This appointment ensures we have an internal expert, with a grounding in medical advice, to help make well informed long-term decisions on the safety and wellbeing of our teams and customers.”

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