What could factory work look like after lockdown?
29th April, 2020
In some countries, lockdown restrictions in car factories have begun to be lifted, allowing people to go back to work and production to resume. But there are new guidelines and rules in place to prevent any infection outbreaks and this could likely be the new norm for a while. We’ve taken a look at what’s going on in other countries to see what we could expect here in the UK.
Making sure that the employees on-site are healthy and not infected is one of the most important considerations for factory bosses to make. There are several techniques being adopted by companies across Europe.
Volkswagen announced that they were resuming production at a 10-15% operational capacity on the 27th of April and have encouraged employees to measure their temperatures at home before arriving into work. This is to spot one of the main symptoms of the Coronavirus – a fever. Similarly, Hyundai’s workers in South Korea must pass through thermal cameras before going into work and before employees can enter the French Toyota factory they must pass through tents for temperature checks.
Maintaining social distancing
We’ve all heard about the importance of social distancing, whether in a supermarket or at a school. In a factory setting, this can be more difficult so what infrastructure have businesses put in place to help with this?
In Volkswagen, along with many other factories that are still operating, floor stickers and markers are now present on the factory floor so that workers can keep the safety distance of 1.5 metres. In Italy factories, production layouts and offices have been rearranged to allow for greater distance between workers, hopefully preventing the spread of any infection. At Toyota, marks on the ground also indicate the direction of foot traffic and plastic separation screens have been installed in some areas of the work floor to keep employees apart.
New regulations to follow
As well as new infrastructure and processes, there are also new regulations to follow in many of these factories to control the virus.
At Toyota, when employees enter the premises, they are provided with their own face masks, sanitizing gel and a pen so that workers don’t have to share. It’s presumed that employees are expected to wear the mask and use the gel when necessary throughout the day. At the same factory, water fountains and vending machines are out of use with catering services cancelled – deterring employees from sitting close together at break times.
At Volkswagen, employees are asked to get changed into their overalls at home to prevent areas of crowding at work.
Although it’s positive to see factories starting to operate again, it’s clear that things won’t be back to normal for a while. It seems likely that we can expect onsite testing, social distance regulations and new rules for everyone to follow.
If you’re a company looking to install social distancing and infection control measures, take a look at our isolation screens.