Rave blog Post

Car Manufacturers Setting a Reopening Blueprint for Others to Follow

As countries and businesses begin to tentatively reopen in hopes to kickstart the economy, car manufacturers, such as Volkswagen, have reopened their manufacturing plants setting a pandemic-era blueprint for other manufacturers across the world, according to the Wall Street Journal. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, manufacturers have had to adjust their processes altering what workers were once used to before COVID-19 hit.

Back in March, Volkswagen, the world’s biggest car maker by sales, began shutting down and rolling manufacturing plant closures across the world in China, Europe and North America. Other large manufacturers began following suit including Airbus SE, the world’s biggest plane maker, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Peugeot, Renault and more. The WSJ explains that these widespread closures were intended to prevent further spread of the virus among factory workers as well as deal with collapsing global demand, closures of dealerships, and the dire need of virus-proof assembly lines and updated workplace safety measures to protect employees from COVID-19. 

Related Blog: The ROI of Investing in Workplace Safety in Construction and  Manufacturing

What Manufacturing Plants Are Doing

To safely reopen, large manufacturers have had to put new sanctions in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus within the workplace. Volkswagen issued new manuals to its global workforce which went into a detailed list of 100 workplace changes designed to minimize the risks of infection. Here’s some of the changes made:

  • Temperature Checks
    As employees enter the building, single file, each will receive a temperature test to ensure they do not have a fever or signs of the coronavirus before entering the plant. Employees may also be required to take their own temperatures at home if there is no way to check at the entrance of the plant.
  • Questionnaires
    Each employee will answer a quick questionnaire to determine if they have been in close contact with anybody who has tested positive for COVID-19, if they have experienced any symptoms themselves, if they have traveled recently, etc. If an employee is experiencing symptoms, they must report this right away to ensure others who may also have been exposed are sent home to prevent a further spread of the virus.
  • Carpooling
    Many employees used to carpool together to work, which is now prohibited. Employees must all commute to work by themselves, unless they’re family members.
  • Common Areas
    Common areas such as changing rooms and cafeterias will remain closed. Employees will have to pack their own lunches and eat at workstations to maintain social distancing and change into work uniforms before entering the workplace.
  • Shift Changes
    There are buffer periods in place between changing shifts allowing one group of workers to leave before the next shift comes in to minimize interactions and allow for proper sanitization. To begin, factories opened at 30% capacity and slowly began to increase as production began to ramp back up.
  • Social Distancing and PPE
    All employees must follow strict social distancing protocols and not come close to coworkers. This includes passing tools and materials to one another, meaning employees must place things down so that others can pick them up at a safe distance. Workers must also always wear a mask and facial covering.
  • Factory Routes
    As seen in many retail and grocery stores, manufacturing plants have altered the routes workers must take when moving around the factory. Arrows and markers have been placed on the floor to outline where to go, and space has been added between worker stations to ensure social distancing is still being followed.

Technology Tools to Ensure Worker Safety

With many physical changes being made to manufacturing facilities across the world, some manufacturers are leveraging technology tools to check in on employees and make sure they feel safe in the workplace. With a comprehensive mass notification solution, large manufacturers can create targeted lists to send mass alerts about changes in the factories, changes to shifts, and what procedures have been put in place for their safety.

Related Blog: How to Successfully Implement a Culture of Accountability to  Address Safety Concerns in the Manufacturing Industry

Some mass notification solutions have geo-polling capabilities and SMS opt-in. To check in on employees, administrators can send out wellness checks to determine whether they feel safe at work, for example. Employers will receive simple text-based answers, which are organized into simple and clear reports to allow business leaders to make informed decisions. SMS opt-in is another useful tool in the workplace, as employees are the ones opting in to receive specific alerts. If they wanted to be informed of information for those working the third shift, for example, they would simply text “THIRDSHIFT” to a texting short code (112233) and then would be opted in for those alerts.

Mass notification solutions with additional workplace safety technology capabilities can be extremely helpful during these unprecedented times.

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Tara Gibson
Tara Gibson

Tara is a Marketing Coordinator on the Rave Mobile Safety marketing team. She loves writing about all things K-12 education, and manages the Rave social media channels. When she's not working, she's taking care of her smiley, shoe eating, Instagram-famous fur baby, Enzo!

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