JD Sports has denied poor working conditions at its warehouse after figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act showed ambulances were called to its Rochdale site 40 times last year.
The data also found that ambulances were dispatched 117 times over the past three years to the same warehouse.
However, JD Sports said that given the scale of its operations, the number of incidents in which an ambulance was called out was “proportionally very low”.
Up to 2,800 JD Sports employees work at the facility each week.
A spokeswoman for JD Sports said: “Health and safety is of upmost importance to JD, and we are extremely proud of our health and safety record at the Kingsway facility, which in 2017 and 2018 was awarded five stars for occupational health and safety compliance by the British Safety Council – the highest standard achievable – following independent assessments of our policies, training, performance and working practices.
“JD Sports is the biggest employer in the Rochdale area, with up to 2,800 people working on site at Kingsway each week, as well as teams of external building and mechanical contractors who have been delivering the significant expansion of our site operations. We also have a policy of positive employment across JD, including at our Kingsway facility, employing staff with controlled illnesses as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act. Given the scale of our operations, the number of incidents where an ambulance is called each year is proportionally very low. Not all ambulance call-outs are related to workplace incidents, with many relating to an employee or contractor falling ill, or for issues completely unrelated to the work environment.
“As a business, we have a responsibility to our staff and everybody on site, to take no risks when it comes to their health and safety. If there is a concern that an ambulance may be needed, for whatever reason, one will always be called. It would be irresponsible not to.
“We employ four permanent health and safety managers at Kingsway, and have double the recommended number of first aiders on site. All employees have a full health and safety briefing in their half-day induction before entering the workplace and are provided with regular updates and training on health and safety matters. Our health and safety committee monitors all reported accidents and incidents and takes appropriate, preventative action to try to avoid any recurrence.”