3,000 testing production under safety measures at Volvo Cars

Volvo Cars, the Ghent car assembly plant, is testing its new safety procedures ahead of a full restart.  3,000 employees are at work while production under new conditions is tested. Volvo Cars has been keen to improve safety at work and slowly increase production. Cars are once again rolling off the production line.

The Swedish car plant is gearing up for a full restart after the introduction of safety measures to prevent the spread of corona.

“It’s not entirely clear when the restart will happen.  We are listening to the words of the authorities and are now sure everything can proceed in a safe environment. In recent days changes have been made in consultation with the unions to ensure the plant is ‘corona-proof’” says Volvo Cars’ Barbara Blomme.

Extra hand hygiene and disinfection are key.  “Every team has received a box with ethanol, rags and cleaning products.  The aim is for workers to clean their own production area more frequently” says Ms Blomme.

Volvo Cars is also taking action to ensure not too many people gather in the same spot at the same time.

“Temporarily we are allowing workers to travel to work in their work clothes.  Normally they are supposed to change in changing rooms but this leads to a drum of people and this we wish to avoid” says Ms Blomme.

Elsewhere markings have been added to the floor e.g. in the company restaurant to ensure people keep their distance and so they know which path to follow.

At the entrance Volvo Cars now has a high tech infrared scanner to measure the temperature of staff very quickly.  It’s a way of adding extra security.

“Employees are not obliged to get their temperature taken.  It’s voluntary. We know the measure isn’t enough.  Some people are ill without a temperature.”

Stewards have also been deployed too.

“They are workers who have volunteered to check good compliance with the many new regulations.  They will be there at shift changes and will raise the matter when safety measures are flouted.”

The test production phase has allowed Volvo Cars to identify problem areas.  A number of changes have already been made, but more will be needed to allow full production.

“Volvo Cars now has less job rotation.  We also want one person to do a series of actions that would usually be performed by several workers to ensure there is less contact” Ms Blomme concludes.