Woolies’ new virus tactic


Woolworths will announce its first chief medical officer today in a bid to protect staff and customers from coronavirus - including creating a national policy on masks or shields.

Dr Rob McCartney will take on the role and have direct input to the Woolworths board executives, the Australian Financial Review reported.

According to the AFR, Dr McCartney's first task will be to develop a nationwide policy for face coverings.

"There is a plethora of medical information and advice to consider in the planning and implementation of a COVID-safe workplace. This appointment ensures we have an internal expert, with a grounding in medical advice, to help make well-informed, long-term decisions on the safety and wellbeing of our teams and customers," Brian Long, general manager of group safety, health and wellbeing at the supermarket giant, told the publication.

According to Dr McCartney's LinkedIn profile, he is a physician who has specialised in occupational and environmental medicine for more than two decades.

Dr Rob McCartney will provide direct input to the Woolworths board executives. Picture: LinkedIn
Dr Rob McCartney will provide direct input to the Woolworths board executives. Picture: LinkedIn

He is the founder of Resile, which Dr McCartney describes as an occupational health service and consulting business that specialises in protecting workers, particularly those who might be vulnerable to COVID-19.

The businesses uses an online portal which assesses the risk to workers and helps implement a management plan to protect those employees.

Dr McCartney is also a fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine with the Royal Australian College of Physicians.

"My ambition is to assist these in maximising the health, wellbeing, safety and productivity of their workforce," he said.

"I have extensive experience in the prevention and management of occupational injury and illness, as well as helping people return to the workforce after experiencing health problems."

Companies which traditionally employ a chief medical officer are those which face major safety hazards like airlines and mining companies but it is likely more retailers may sway this way given the country is still grappling with the coronavirus crisis, Dr McCartney predicts.

"If you are not getting proper advice from a chief medical officer, how do you know if you are not exposed to liabilities in the health and safety areas?," he said.

Originally published as Woolies' new virus tactic