Like most carmakers, Ford has been in lockdown due to the spread of the novel coronavirus but it plans to restart production and operations in North America on May 18.
The Blue Oval will bring back employees whose work can’t be done remotely and that means around 12,000 employees look set to be returning to work. Ford’s parts operations in support of dealers will be back even earlier, on May 11.
However, staff will have to get used to many coronavirus precautions that the carmaker is implementing such as:
1. Workers and visitors must self-certify they're healthy online every day before their shifts. Anyone who reports symptoms or possible exposure to someone with COVID-19 will be told not to come to work.
2. All workers will receive temperature scans at the factory door.
3. Face masks are required for everyone entering a Ford plant.
4. Ever worker will receive a "care kit" including a face mask and other items "to help keep them healthy and comfortable at work."
5. Safety glasses with side shields, or face shields, will be required when social distancing isn't possible.
6. There will be more time between shifts to move workers in and out and allow for disinfecting of work areas.
For the time being, plants that ran three shifts will run two, and those that ran two shifts will run one. Plants that ran one shift will keep to one.
“We’ve been working intently with state and federal governments, our union partners and a cross-section of our workforce to reopen our North American facilities,” said Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley. “We have reopened our facilities in China, successfully begun our phased restart in Europe and have been producing medical equipment in Michigan for more than six weeks and are using the lessons from all of that to ensure we are taking the right precautions to help keep our workforce here safe.”