Ford issues new COVID safety protocols for manufacturing reboot
Employees to get safety playbook plus personal protection and hygiene items, such as masks and sanitizer.
DEARBORN, Mich. – The Ford Motor Co. has not determined exact return-to work-dates for most of its hourly and salaried workers, but it has detailed global health and safety protocols for employees as it prepares to restart manufacturing at its global facilities.
The automaker said standards and precautions introduced this week expand on those used at Ford facilities in China, where work has already resumed, and where medical equipment has been produced for weeks. Workers are wearing face masks, face shields and other personal protection equipment, and maintaining at least two metres of space from other people.
“We’ve been working intently on how to restart our operations and safely bring back our employees and we’re ready,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s chief operating officer. “We have gone through and trialed these processes. We’re abiding by our first principles, and we are working with our union and government partners to restart.”
Ford is beginning the return to work process in Europe on May 4, and a small number of hourly and salaried employees returned to work this week in North America to begin installing equipment and putting in place the new safety protocols.
Protocols are captured in a safety playbook that will be available for employees along with personal protection and hygiene items, such as masks and sanitizer.
The plan to return to work will continue to be updated with input from global medical experts that include an external epidemiologist and infectious disease experts, Ford’s Global Data Insight and Analytics team, the Ford of Canada-Unifor National Joint Health and Safety Committee. Best-practices recommendations will from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the World Health Organization, among others will be followed.
Reopening safety protocols include scheduling more time between production shifts to limit interaction between employees and allow for additional cleaning. Work spaces have been modified where possible to allow for social distancing, and all Ford people – hourly and salaried employees – will receive personal protective equipment (PPE) to be worn inside Ford facilities.
Supervisors are being instructed to have salaried employees work according to specific schedules to prevent unnecessary contact. Cafeterias, small meeting rooms, fitness centres and other small common areas where social distancing is not possible will remain closed.
Safety actions include:
• Daily online health self-certifications completed before work every day. Employees or visitors who indicate they may have symptoms or may have been exposed to the virus will be told not to come to work.
• No-touch temperature scans upon arrival. Anyone with a raised temperature will not be permitted to enter and will be instructed to consult with a medical practitioner to be cleared before returning to work.
• Face masks for everyone entering a Ford facility. Every Ford team member will be provided a care kit including a face mask and other items.
• Safety glasses with side shields or face shields are added requirements when jobs don’t allow for social distancing. Ford is evaluating workstations and work patterns and will implement other measures that protect workers whose jobs are typically performed within two metres of another person
• Facilities that have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and will be cleaned with increased frequency when they reopen.
• Hand sanitation stations throughout Ford facilities and CDC or PHAC signs with proper handwashing methods in all restrooms.
• A comprehensive playbook with procedures and protocols that detail how the Ford team will work together to help keep everyone safe and healthy.