WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn — People working at the UPS warehouse at Bradley International Airport say not enough is being done to keep employees safe.
UPS workers are close to the frontlines in the fight against the COVID-19 virus. They are responsible for making sure vital packages get to people's doors safely while people are being told to stay inside.
Yet, at the UPS facility at Bradley International Airport, employees tell FOX61 News they’re not getting the proper personal protective equipment they need to make sure they’re safe while on the job.
Alexis Santiago is on a personal leave of absence from working at the UPS facility at Bradley International Airport. She chose to do so after she felt her concerns about the safety of her and her coworkers were not being taken seriously.
“And the fact that they weren’t willing to do anything until it hit close to home,” says Santiago. “These are people that I work with, who I may not see again. And this is what bothers me and is why I was so frustrated at the fact that I’m being told how they care and, yet, their actions aren’t showing that.”
Santiago says she asked her boss about personal protective equipment being given to employees in February. Only recently are they starting to offer some equipment.
“They finally started offering gloves, I know recently,” says Santiago. “I know April 8 they gave one N-95 mask to everyone on the preload shift. But, that’s the only one they’re getting.”
Other employees nationwide are experiencing the same problems. Some are responding directly to UPS on twitter.
One user says they work within two feet of multiple people who are coughing and not wearing gloves and masks. Another says hand sanitizer is not available in their warehouse.
UPS says they have sent supplies, including 250,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to all of their facilities
An employee working on ground shipping at Bradley tells FOX61 that gloves are not mandatory, so people all over the country are touching the same shipping boxes. He is not on a persona leave of absence and wants his identity to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job for speaking out. He says social distancing is not an option.
“There’s not enough space to implement social distancing,” says Santiago.
UPS says they've staggered shift times and spaced out work areas to try to keep employees at a distance.
We reached out to UPS, who sent us the following policies they say they have implemented. They tell FOX61 that they are reaching out to the specific facility at Bradley International Airport to see how they can better enforce those policies.
Here is the response UPS sent to FOX61:
UPS has provided ongoing support to employees to manage health risks. The safety and health of our employees is extremely important as we care about each other, our families and the communities where we live and work. Here are some things we’re doing for our employees at all of our facilities.
Communication: We continue to communicate often and regularly with our employees about the recommended behaviors to manage health risks.
Hygiene protocols and social distancing:
We are continuously sharing the hygiene protocols suggested by the CDC and WHO with all employees.
The company has modified, and will continue to modify, our normal operating procedures to maintain social distance protocols. For example, we have added space between work stations inside our facilities and suspended requiring a customer to sign for “signature required” packages when delivered.
We are also modifying other protocols involving site access, gatherings of employees and public interaction at service counters.
Signs of illness:
If any employee experiences symptoms such as fever or respiratory infection, they are required to seek medical treatment. We do not want them to come to work if they are sick.
UPS will provide up to 10 days of compensation for any employee who is diagnosed with the virus, or who is required to quarantine, or if a household member is diagnosed with the virus and the employee is required to quarantine.
Cleaning and disinfecting our facilities and equipment:
We have substantially increased cleaning and disinfecting surfaces throughout our facilities.
Our vehicles and equipment are cleaned and disinfected daily with an emphasis on the interiors, and frequent exterior touch points.
PPE materials: We have distributed protective equipment to employees and we are regularly replenishing supplies at our facilities.
This includes antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer and wipes: We are distributing an additional 250,000 bottles of hand sanitizer. Disinfecting wipes are extremely limited in the supply chain, but we have other bleach disinfecting solutions in place.
UPS is providing masks and disposable gloves to our employees as needed, prioritizing them for areas that are at greater risk of exposure and for employees who make need-based requests. We are allowing all of our employees to wear masks, and we have provided all of our employees with the guidelines to properly use the masks. We are following requests from health officials to prioritize masks for hospitals and clinics where those items are desperately needed.