• Ford SA is resumes production and operations
• Robust safety and care measures have been implemented
• Daily online health self-certification surveys
Ford South Africa began with the uptake of business again. The phased restart, starting 1 June 2020, includes the resuming of vehicle and engine production, and bringing back the first wave of employees who aren't able to work remotely.
Ockert Berry, VP Operations, Ford SA, says: "We've been working intently with national government, our safety and medical teams, unions and our workforce to reopen our Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria and Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth.
"Since the beginning of April, we have been producing protective face shields at the Silverton plant, and are using the lessons from this project, along with input from our global Ford teams, the Department of Health and our medical specialists to ensure we are taking the right precautions to help keep our workforce safe."
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Ford SA resumed production on 1 June 2020. Image: QuickPic
Health and safety
The in-phasing of Ford's entire workforce will not be sudden, but rather a gradual one, ensuring that the health and safety protocols are upheld with each reintroducing wave.
Ford says that its workers have to adjust to the new normal, as well as the health and safety protocols that's been put in place. Employees from the automaker's administration, finance, and sales and marketing staff will continue to work from home if they can do so. The staggered approach allows Ford to implement new safety protocols effectively and provide proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for all employees as they return to work, says the automaker.
Berry explains: "We have also established dedicated Flu Clinics at both plants (Port Elizabeth and Pretoria) for employees or contractors that exhibit any cold or flu-like symptoms during working hours. The clinics are manned by specially trained medical staff to evaluate the person's condition and advise if further testing or medical treatment is required. Should there be any confirmed Covid-19 cases at our plants, we have protocols in place for contact tracing, self-isolation, case reporting, and intensive cleaning and disinfection procedures."
2020 Ford Ranger Raptor. Image: QuickPic
Ford has compiled a comprehensive "Manufacturing Return to Work Playbook" to help protect its workforce, using best practices and input from experts around the world. Some of the safety protocols include:
• Daily online employee and visitor health self-certifications completed before work. Employees or visitors who indicate they may have symptoms or may have been exposed to the virus will be told not to come to Ford facilities. They should self-isolate or contact the dedicated Ford Covid-19 hotline
• No-touch temperature scans for all employees and contractors upon arrival – anyone with a raised temperature will not be permitted to enter and will need to be cleared of symptoms before returning to work
• Required face masks for everyone entering a Ford facility. Every Ford team member will be provided a care kit including face masks and other items to help keep them healthy and comfortable at work
• Face shields will be provided when jobs don't allow for social distancing
• There will be more time between production shifts to limit interaction between employees and allow for additional cleaning
Compiled by: Charlen Raymond