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TRENDS IN AUTOMOTIVE

SAFER: Automotive in the Age of COVID-19

A look inside some Fiat Chrysler facilities showing how the people working in them are being protected from COVID-19.

In mid-March automotive plants throughout North America stopped production operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. No matter how automated a factory is, the simple fact of the matter is that every auto plant has hundreds of people who are working in comparatively close proximity, something that wasn’t even thought of as an issue as recently as early March.

In order to bring the factories back up and running it wasn’t simply a case of flipping a switch and turning things back on. Extensive modifications were made.

As Mike Manley, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) said prior to the reopening of the company’s North American facilities, “We have worked closely with the unions to establish protocols that will ensure our employees feel safe at work and that every step possible has been taken to protect them.”

As FCA has operations in places like China and Italy, it was able to draw on the best practices there for the North American plants. It also coordinated protocols with those of the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Prior to bringing people back into the factories it sent some 47,000 information packages out to represented workers in the U.S. and Canada and provided it in person to its employees in Mexico.

“We have worked closely with the unions to establish protocols that will ensure our employees feel safe at work and that every step possible has been taken to protect them.”

– Mike Manley, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

 

“We have taken a ‘belt and suspenders’ approach to mitigating the spread of this virus by implementing lots of layers of protection.”

 – Scott Garberding, FCA Global Chief Manufacturing Officer

Just Some of the Steps Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Took Toward Safety...

  • Cleaned and disinfected more than 57-million square feet of manufacturing floor space
  • Distributed 135 hand-held foggers
  • Installed more than 2,000 hand sanitizing stations
  • Analyzed and evaluated more than 17,000 workstations for adherence to six-foot social distancing
  • Redesigned or added protective barriers at more than 4,700 job areas
  • Staggered start times
  • Added time to breaks and lunch to minimize people density
  • Installed plexiglass partitions in break areas and cafeterias

Scott Garberding, FCA Global Chief Manufacturing Officer, said, “We have taken a ‘belt and suspenders’ approach to mitigating the spread of this virus by implementing lots of layers of protection.”

Upon arriving at work there are thermal imaging camera and a self-screening questionnaire. Workstations are cleaned before work commences. Employees must wear masks and safety glasses while working in the facilities.

TOP 10 PRECAUTIONS

AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURERS TAKE STEPS AGAINST COVID-19

1. Social Distancing

Working on a press line at the Warren Stamping Plant in Michigan. Note the yellow boxes: they indicate social-distanced spacing.

2. Six Feet Apart

A team meeting at Warren Stamping. Employees maintain the required distance from one another.

3. Temperature Screening

A thermal imaging station at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant.

4. Masks

Workers are provided with two masks per day at the start of their shifts. This is a distribution point at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant.

5. Sanitization

This operator is cleaning her workstation at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant. The first 10 minutes of every shift are dedicated to cleaning.

6. Plexiglass

Note how these three workers at Warren Truck are all working on the same engine yet are separated by a weld curtain and a plexiglass screen.

7. Curtains

A weld curtain separates these operators working on a Dodge Grand Caravan at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Canada.

8. Safer Break Time

Partitions are setup on the break tables at the Kokomo Transmission Plant in Indiana.

9. Clearly Marked Work Stations

The operator work areas are clearly marked by the yellow boxes at the end of a stamping press line at the Warren Stamping Plant.

10. Assembly Line Partitions

Weld curtains are temporarily installed inside the body of a Jeep Wrangler as it goes down the assembly line at the Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio.

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