Detroit’s General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US (FCA) have restarted their assembly lines after a shut down of two months due to coronavirus (COVID-19), reports Automotive News.
The automakers have reportedly been preparing for weeks to reopen their North American factories. FCA reopened four US assembly plants on Monday, including Warren Truck, on a single shift, as well as four parts plants. The automakers explained that there were no issues with absenteeism as the plants reopened, with a UAW spokesman stating that levels were “at or above expectations.”
In an effort to avoid COVID-19 outbreaks that could derail production again, the auto companies have reportedly redesigned assembly lines and retrained workers. Workers entering the reopened factories are checked by temperature monitors, and face masks or shields are standard protective equipment. Jobs such as installing seat belts, which used to require two or more workers to be situated closely together inside a vehicle, have been redesigned to keep staff at a safe distance.
Plastic screens have also been installed along assembly lines to separate workers leaning in close to the engine compartments of vehicles, and break areas have been reconfigured to keep workers six feet apart.
The automakers have collaborated with each other and with the UAW to develop common coronavirus safety practices, and other automakers in the USA are said to be adopting similar safety measures.