Latest News

Message for suppliers Guidance to keep teams safe and sites operational 30 July 2021



30 July 2021



Dear Valued Supplier Partner,


On behalf of Coles, we would like to thank you and your team for your continued hard work, dedication and collaboration to maintain our stock levels while we manage the changing landscape to mitigate the spread impact of COVID-19.


Today we would like to share some guidance on practices that you might implement at your facilities in an effort to keep your teams safe and your sites operational.

  1. Workplace separation - reducing case impact
    1. Separating workforce is critical control. Have layers of defence. Have Marshals to manage areas to continue separation. Breaks, car parks, entry gates
    2. Limit interaction between:
      1. working groups / bubbles / cells
        • Keep these as small as possible and ensure they don’t interact
        • Watch for crossover points – canteens, toilets, smoking huts – no carpooling
        • Remove unnecessary contact points such as doors, chairs, tables
        • Make compliance easy – wrist bands / different vests to identify bubbles – have marshals to enforce / support where possible
      2. Areas of facilities
        • physical separation works best - separate carpark and entrances – remove possibility of interaction
      3. Shift groups
        • Confirm team clear out of one shift before the next arrives and ideally clean between shift. How do you manage late arrivals to shifts, teams waiting for other colleagues in changing rooms
        • Days worked/shift patterns
        • Aim for team member groups that never interact with other groups so that one positive case avoids taking out an entire site. For example: if one group works Monday – Thursday, and a separate team works Friday – Sunday, a case on Saturday cannot impact the Monday - Thursday working group
      4. Sites
        • Don’t have anyone working across multiple sites where possible – watch for contractors / plumbers etc who may be at a higher risk of transmitting a positive if working across multiple sites
        • Service business to your site are a key transmission point. Engineers, PPE providers, specialist repairs and maintenance
      5. No non-essential visitors to any location on site/storage facilities
    3. Have clear evidence of separation
      1. Create a media pack to show images, videos, PPE worn - remember that health officials may not understand how a food manufacturing site works in practice
      2. Ensure you know who everyone onsite is and where they have worked - make sure you can easily provide this information, together with DOB and phone numbers and correct name detail

  2. Nightly deep cleans
    1. If you have a positive, you may be required to close for a deep clean.
    2. Completing a nightly deep clean may avoid closure if you can show a deep clean has occurred since the case was last onsite

  3. Respond quickly and proactively to any cases
    1. NSW operates a different model to other states – decisions are distributed to local units based on geography
      1. Know your local health unit (LPHU); info here
      2. Contact local health unit immediately if you have any case
      3. Don’t assume consistency across LPHUS or cases
      4. If you have a positive immediately exclude their bubble for at least a test if;
        • Positive TM has been at work in 48 hours prior to symptom onset or test; or
        • Source of infection is unclear (Health may assume they got it at work).
    2. Be proactive with providing proposed team member isolations and actions – a solution to health department may support your site remaining operational. Have an efficient way of communicating to each “bubble” should anything occur out or in of work. Whatsapp messaging as an example

  4. Exclude at risk team members
    1. Highlight exposure sites to team members where relevant (close location or potential risk location)
    2. Watch for family / friend interaction that may create risk outside of work - exclude team members whose family have tested positive. Daily Covid questionnaires at site should help support this for your business. Shared lifts with other facilities are important to capture and backward trace where community transmission is known case

  5. Regular testing
    1. Ensure testing is carried out as required and as regularly as possible e.g. every 24 - 72 hours
    2. Regular testing may limit impact to your site – expect more updates on rapid antigen testing soon from NSW health

  6. Vaccination
    1. Encourage TMs to take up vaccination in whatever way is possible
    2. Health will not amend response based on vaccination status at this stage, but can decrease risk
    3. Seek to provide vaccination onsite if possible (note limited supply)
    4. Maintain all existing controls
    5. Don’t assume any one solution works – all existing controls (distancing etc) limit spread and should be maintained

  7. Have clear plans for losing a site for 14 days
    1. if evidence of lots of transmission on site or across bubbles / shifts, expect to lose your whole work force for up to 14 days


Some final thoughts:



  • Take the view that it’s not IF but WHEN you will get your first case and plan accordingly
  • Community transmission, not work related, seems to be the issue and the expectation is that you as an employer can manage the spread in your business
  • Reassure team members so that further absenteeism is reduced with quick & easy methods of communication to team “bubbles”
  • Be prepared to lose a site – let us know what your business continuity plans are and how you plan to maintain Coles supply.
  • Also consider location of raw material, packaging and ingredients in a case of closure, can you access this stock to continue supply e.g. at your BCP site. Consider proactively addressing this now.
  • Plan for how you would effectively shut down your facility and plan to restart it


We really welcome your feedback on learnings so please get in touch and share your suggestions and thoughts with your key Coles contact.


Stay safe, and thank you for everything you and your teams do for our customers and team members.



Greg Davis

Chief Executive, Commercial & Express

Quick Links