Pendle businesses urged to give staff rapid Covid tests

Pendle Council is urging more local businesses to provide their employees with lateral flow tests as part of the national effort to combat Covid-19.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 3:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 3:44 pm
Staff at Merc Aerospace doing the tests

Businesses across the country were invited to take up the Government's free workplace testing programme, using the rapid lateral flow tests which can give a result in 30 minutes.

Twelve Pendle businesses have signed up to doing the regular tests so far and more businesses are being asked to take part.

Dean Langton, chief executive of Pendle Council, said: “We’d like to say a big thank you to the businesses which are doing lateral testing for their workforce – it will help to protect their staff, customers and our wider community.

“We all want to get back to living a normal life and these businesses are playing their part towards more restrictions being safely lifted.

“There is a great mix of businesses already doing the tests, from small, family-owned enterprises to much larger companies with workforces that run into the hundreds.

“They’re all doing their bit, and Pendle Council wants to offer our heart-felt thanks to each and every one of them,” said Dean.

Some of those businesses taking part include Merc Aerospace, Silentnight Group, and Pendle Engineering and each had something to say about their experience.

Richard Meade, commercial director at Merc Aerospace, said: “We first heard about the programme through local business connections and thought it was a great idea so got in touch with Pendle Council to take part.

“We began testing in early February and have been doing weekly tests ever since with 100% staff participation. As our business is part of a critical supply chain, we’ve had to remain open during the pandemic, so ensuring business continuity has been really important.

“The process of co-ordinating the tests has been easy, and they give us peace of mind that we can keep our people and our business safe.”

Chris Smith, managing director at Pendle Engineering, said: “We picked up from the news that large businesses were getting involved so reached out to Pendle Council to volunteer.

“We were one of the first businesses in Pendle to begin the programme and though we made the tests optional, we’ve had 100% uptake from our staff!

It’s been a top priority of ours throughout the pandemic that we keep our employees safe, and a nice surprise has been how the programme has lifted morale too.”

Tim Hunt, Health and Safety Executive Advisor at the Silentnight Group, said: “In December 2020, Silentnight were invited by Pendle Council to participate in the workplace Covid testing programme.

“With the support of Pendle Council and military personnel we have been testing around 200 employees each week. In the early stages we found several asymptomatic employees who tested positive, and we were able to isolate them to protect their colleagues.

“In 2021 we set up our own on-site testing facility allowing us to conduct up to 600 tests per week. Workplace testing is an important part of our measures to manage the risk of Covid-19 and since mid-January 2021 there have been no positive cases found.

“We would encourage other businesses to join the programme,” he added.

Though the deadline for registering with the national scheme to order free rapid lateral flow tests ended on 12 April 2021, businesses can still register their workplace for rapid testing with Lancashire County Council.

The council will support organisations through the test training, setting up a test area, and the testing and results follow up process until 30 June 2021.

For more information and to register your business, visit Lancashire County Council’s website

https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/coronavirus/testing/testing-for-businesses/