DRIVERS at a timber manufacturer based in Hartlebury are worried they are "spreading germs across the country" as they continue delivering sheds and fences during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some workers at Forest Garden, located at Hartlebury Trading Estate, are calling on the employer to stop deliveries until the crisis is over, after raising concerns about the effectiveness of the firm's social distancing measures.

However the company said it was closely following official advice and said the wellbeing of its staff and customers was "paramount".

It comes after the Government ordered some "non-essential" businesses to close to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

One Forest Garden delivery driver, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "We're delivering sheds up and down the country. How is that essential?

"People are giving the drivers stick on the road, effing and blinding at us for carrying on delivering while other places have closed. But we won't get paid if we don't come in.

"The company has split the drivers up so it's one person per vehicle now, but we're all parked right next to each other in the yard so it's pointless.

"I've read germs stay on wood for four days and the sawdust makes drivers cough even if they're not ill."

The worker said seven drivers are now refusing to come in to work due to concerns.

Another Forest Garden driver added: "There's 100 vehicles on the road each day, spreading germs across the country. There is no need for us to be on the road - it is pure greed."

Forest Garden said the company had introduced strict social distancing measures and improved hygiene at all of its sites, including mandatory daily temperature checking for drivers and deep cleaning of delivery vehicles.

The firm said more than 130 staff are now working from home and said a package of financial support had been put in place for employees unable to attend work.

A spokesman for Forest Garden said: “At this time, the Government has made it clear that online retail is still open and encouraged that hardware stores can remain open to help support essential repair and maintenance work.

"The safety and wellbeing of all our staff and customers is paramount during this unprecedented period and we will only continue our work if it is safe to do so.

"We are continuing to adhere closely to official advice, including that from Public Health England, and we have introduced a number of rigorous measures and safeguards.

"These include the introduction of contact-free curbside deliveries, social distancing measures, improved hygiene practices, temperature checks for drivers before and after delivery work, and daily deep cleaning of vehicles.”