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Protecting our Extended Family

The safety, health and well-being of all Winpak employees is always top-of-mind. Our 2,500 employees have unique and diverse skills, and safeguarding our employees’ well-being ensures a productive and effective workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact, not only around the globe, but also on all Winpak operations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

As a packaging company for the protein, food and beverage, dairy, and healthcare industries, Winpak was declared an essential business and responded to the changing priorities of our customers as they faced the impacts of the pandemic on their own businesses. Winpak’s response to COVID-19 was to comply with all government rules and regulations; ensure the health and safety of our workers and suppliers; and deliver on our commitment to customers. The most critical piece to ensure successful completion of our commitment was to act with care and concern for our employees and their families. 

How we did it

To navigate the complex and ever-changing rules and policies that governed Winpak’s activities, we were led by the Human Resources and Health and Safety teams across all our sites. Weekly briefing sessions, led by Winpak’s President and CEO, Olivier Muggli, were put in place to track results, leverage best practices and understand the changing dynamics of the regional impacts of the virus. These sessions remain in place today.

Winpak introduced several practices early on which included:

  • Mandatory use of face masks.
  • Employees were organized into cohorts to limit cross exposure with other workgroups and shared workspaces were reconfigured to allow for social distancing and barrier shields for customer-facing positions.
  • Thermal temperature testing at the beginning of shifts.
  • Introduced flexible work arrangement such as working remotely on a full or part-time basis.
  • Screening of new hires included a COVID-19 questionnaire, temperature readings and training on COVID-19 protocols.
  • Contact tracing implemented when an employee tested positive in the workplace.
  • Attendance penalties suspended.
  • Contractors isolated from the employee population. A negative COVID-19 test was required to be admitted to the workplace.
  • All non-essential business travel was suspended.
  • Employees with symptoms required to have a negative test before returning to work.
  • Regular information updates on the government benefit programs were communicated to employees as needed and administered as required.  Links to government websites were communicated as well.

 The resiliency and commitment of our employees over the past 12 months has been outstanding.  They have demonstrated the highest level of adherence to safety, productivity, quality and service to our customers. 

Going forward

The long-term effects of COVID-19 in the areas of physical and mental health are being monitored. We know the pandemic has had a major effect on our lives. We are still facing challenges never seen before and being able to cope with this stress in a healthy way is important for individuals and for those they care about. Experts predict that the effect on mental health will intensify as feelings of helplessness and stress during prolonged isolation and lockdowns increase. Remember you do not have to face these times alone. Public sites like those managed by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) have useful resources for managing stress.

Winpak has an initiative to relaunch our Employee and Family Assistance Program to ensure employees and their families understand the breadth of services and supports that are available to them through the program. We view our employees as extended family members, and this is another great way where we support our employees’ mental well-being as we all continue to endure the various impacts of COVID-19.

Sharon  Hooper
Sharon Hooper
Vice President, Human Resources
Winnipeg, MB Canada

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