At least 140 staff at JD Sports‘ Rochdale warehouse have been sent to hospital in the last four years, according to a Guardian investigation.
According to documents the newspaper obtained under freedom of information, ambulances visited the warehouse 166 times in the last four years, with 140 of those incidents leading to a trip to the hospital.
About 1500 people, including hundreds of agency staff, work at the site and JD Sports have said that not all ambulance dispatches have been related to workplace incidents.
The news follows a Channel 4 investigation last year where workers said the warehouses was “worse than a prison”.
JD Sports said it was “deeply disappointed and concerned by the footage” and did not believe it reflected its culture accurately.
The new information revealed by the Guardian show that an ambulance transported someone from the Rochdale site to hospital 18 times in 2013, 52 in 2014, 34 in 2015 and 36 in 2016.
The situation shares similarities with Sports Direct‘s warehouse in Shirebrook, Derbyshire.
Ambulances were dispatched there 76 times between January 2013 and December 2014, according to a similar freedom of information request.
A spokesperson for JD Sports told the Guardian that health and safety was a “high priority” for the company.
“Health and safety is a high priority and JD have invested heavily in, and are proud of, health and safety at the Kingsway facility, evidenced by our four star for occupational health and safety compliance from the British Safety Council,” they said.
“This includes an independent assessment of our policies, training, performance and working practices and was awarded in May 2016.
“The data presented clearly states that, despite the considerable expansion of operations at Kingsway and the considerably increased number of staff engaged, the number of ambulances called has decreased since 2014.
“There are up to 1500 employees on site daily and the number of incidents where an ambulance is called in a year is, therefore, proportionally very low. It must also be emphasised that not all ambulance call-outs will be related to workplace incidents, and that many may relate to an employee falling ill or something unrelated to the work environment, therefore, call-outs related to incidents at work are only a proportion of the numbers quoted.
“We employ a full-time health and safety manager and currently have 60 first aiders… almost double the recommended number of 32, and all employees have a full health and safety briefing in their half-day induction before entering the workplace.
“They are provided with regular updates and training on health and safety matters. In addition, all line managers have mandatory enhanced health and safety training and some have undertaken the Nebosh qualification. Our health and safety committee monitors all reported accidents and incidents and takes appropriate, preventative action to try to avoid any recurrence.”