A Sellafield employee has spoken out over claims that the company is putting “production before safety.”

The employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said the message from the top is for staff to switch off their NHS Covid-19 app while on the site, and staff feel their health is being compromised.

The employee, who has identified themselves to Newsquest Cumbria, said: “It was made clear that they want us to turn the NHS app off. The feeling here is it’s production before people’s health and health comes second.

“We’ve got to come in, drive in in cars individually then jump on a bus with plenty of others, it’s beyond a joke.”

“The way Sellafield is handling this it’s shocking. If people get Covid they are off 10 days then told to get straight back in. We are all feeling let down.

“I didn’t think it would happen like this, but it has. There are far too many people on the site. People making these decisions are all sitting at home and haven’t a clue what is going on on site.”

“It’s shocking Sellafield is seeing Covid as inconvenient for them and employees are just being treated as a number.”

Oli Slack, GMB Union representative, said: “I think there are a lot of concerned members on site, but trade unions are working with Sellafield on a daily basis to ensure safe practices are carried out on site.”

A spokesman for Sellafield Ltd said the app is a useful tool, but is not as effective operationally on site and the organisation has never advocated the use of the app since its launch in September.

The spokesman said: “The NHS Covid-19 app is an extremely useful tool in limiting the spread of the virus across the country.

“However, it was not designed for use in a complex environment like Sellafield. It does not offer the kind of location accuracy we require on a highly congested site with more than 1,000 buildings. That’s why, like many other similar businesses, we developed our own tracing system which was specifically designed for our buildings and offices and uses a dedicated team of human tracers.

“This not only allows a much more rapid response to identifying close contacts, but also provides valuable information about possible transmission pathways. That is simply not possible with an anonymised system like the NHS Covid-19 app.

“So, if you were alerted to a possible contact at Sellafield via the NHS app, you would not know who the contact was or how transmission occurred. By using our system, you would receive this information and be alerted more rapidly.

“For these reasons, we’d much prefer people used our tracing system while at work, rather than the tracing element of the NHS app. This has been our consistent position since the app launched last September.

“Like every element of our Covid-19 response, this is under continuous review to ensure we are taking every possible measure to ensure the safety of people on our site.”