United Natural Foods Inc. today announced that its Risk and Safety Team has been recognized as the Gold Winner for Workplace Safety by the 12th Annual Golden Bridge Business and Innovation Awards. This recognition follows an extended period in which UNFI has been expanding its risk management initiatives and safety measures to protect more than 21,000 associates across its 59 distribution centers and additional office locations.
The annual Golden Bridge Awards honor the world's best in organizational performance, products, services and more. Public and private organizations operating across sectors are eligible to submit nominations. This marks the first year in which UNFI has participated in the process and received recognition as a winner.
“Since March, UNFI’s risk and safety, human resources and operations leadership have seamlessly collaborated to implement swift, meaningful and wide-ranging actions to safeguard the health and safety of our warehouse associates. We are very proud that these risk and safety efforts have been recognized during this extremely trying year that has presented extraordinary health and wellness challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jill Sutton, UNFI’s chief legal officer, general counsel and corporate secretary.
“UNFI has relentlessly focused on creating safe and secure workplaces for our valued associates across North America. As a result of increased investments in safety, we have implemented enhanced cleanings, enacted stringent hygiene practices, distributed important protective gear and maintained socially-distant workstations at all facilities. Our disciplined focus and meaningful investments have helped us successfully safeguard associates and keep the food supply chain moving throughout the pandemic. We are determined to build on this momentum and continue fulfilling our role as an essential business in the months ahead.”
UNFI continues to evaluate and introduce new risk and safety initiatives and is in the process of rolling out company-paid in-home COVID-19 testing for all associates regardless of health plan or previous exposure to the virus. The company is also piloting a voluntary wellness mobile app designed to help associates monitor their health and has revised its close contact rules in response to last week’s Center for Disease Control guidance.
“Since the earliest days of the pandemic, we have recognized that keeping our workforce safe and limiting the spread of COVID-19 at our facilities are critical to keeping America fed,” added Andre LaMere, UNFI’s senior vice president of Risk and Safety. “Our dedicated Risk and Safety Team is committed to its role in keeping our associates safe so that UNFI can meet its stakeholders’ needs in the face of changing operating environments. Our operations leadership has been steadfast in their partnership and support for our COVID-19 protocols and continues to hold workplace safety as a central goal as they deliver excellent customer service. We also want to take this opportunity to thank our valued associates for their partnership, focus on safety and tremendous efforts this year. We are proud to reinforce our commitment to the safety of our front-line associates.”
UNFI’s designated team of experts consistently monitors pandemic-related updates while adopting and evolving our latest protocols to provide assurance, safety and support to associates as they work to keep America fed. The company recently expanded its team by adding Brett Norton, who has joined UNFI as vice president of occupational safety after previously leading worldwide safety programs at Starbucks Corporation. Mr. Norton has extensive experience implementing effective safety programs that utilize leading indicators to address safety issues before injuries occur and threats emerge.
“I am excited to join a strong Risk and Safety organization and look forward to working with UNFI associates and leadership on continuing to move food forward by doing the right thing and keeping our workforce safe every day,” concluded Mr. Norton.