A NUMBER of contract workers at the Amazon Fulfilment Centre in Darlington have fallen ill and have been sent home, The Northern Echo understands.

Five contract workers, who were finishing off the site on Symmetry Park, were reportedly sent home by senior management earlier this week.

However, the contractor in question has disputed previous claims and said it was following the latest UK guidance with full compliance at the Amazon warehouse.

On Wednesday, concerns over health and safety at the site in Symmetry Park were raised after a whistleblower alleged that contract workers were not social distancing or provided with safety equipment. 

The Northern Echo: Contract workers were pictured 'crammed' into a staff area Contract workers were pictured 'crammed' into a staff area

The worker, who did not wish to be identified, alleged that those contracted to finish the warehouse were not being allowed the 'two metre distance' between colleagues.

However, further workers have since raised concerns over safety measures and claim that several workers have been sent home.

One worker said: "Five workers have fallen ill and the (contractor) management are telling us its food poisoning. The workers have been sent home and others have quit their jobs."

Meanwhile another worker said: "They are claiming we are key workers because COVID-19 test kits will be stored here. This is being used an excuse to get the works on site finished.

"People from my team have had to go home due to concerns over the virus."

On Wednesday, Amazon refuted claims of any wrong-doing and said it had 'reminded' the contractors of the government's official guidance when it came to protecting against coronavirus.

At the time, a spokesperson for Amazon said: “Our Darlington site is currently not operational and we have ensured the contractors on site have been reminded of the guidance and that this is adhered to at all times.”

In response to the claims, Pat Grum, chief operating officer for NPSG Global - one of the contractors on site - said: "NPSG considers the safety and welfare of our team members our priority. 

"In conjunction with Amazon, NPSG provides a safe workplace for our team members at the Darlington site and is in full compliance with the latest UK guidance regarding Social Distancing. 

"If one of our team members reports that they are displaying symptoms, they are asked to follow the stated protocol of at least 7 days isolation away from the work site. 

"The suggestion that a number of team members are sick is untrue. I am aware that one associate had food poisoning and has recovered."

Amazon have not commented further at this time.