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Daniel Kirmatzis

How do we reopen factories after lockdown? Share your advice.

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Daniel Kirmatzis

At some point in the near future factories will likely be reopening but in a post Covid-19 world how do we ensure this is done right so as to protect the health and safety of all workers?

We' re looking for your tips and practical advice on how you have or are planning to manage reopening your factories. You may have remained opened during the pandemic - being one of the critical companies providing vital supplies to the nation or you may have repurposed your operations and kept part of your work-force on to make personal protective equipment (PPE) or supplies for medical devices.

Please share your thoughts on the following questions:

  1. What measures have you put in place to ensure a safe return to work?
  2. How is your workforce responding to these measures?
  3. How have these measures changed your operations?
  4. What practical advice can you offer other businesses e.g. did you buy special protective equipment for your workers and where from?
  5. What long-term changes to your business are you expecting as a result of the lockdown?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the Community.

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Gail Campbell

We've decided to be a little inventive and manufacture temporary workstation separators - these are used on production lines, or in offices, canteens.  They will give a 2M barrier between employees, hopefully reducing the risk of picking up the virus.  Tapes are OK, but people can easily forget and walk over the lines.  Although people want to get back to work, the virus is still out there, claiming too many lives, so anything that helps stop the spread is a bonus.

It's not my core business, but it's something we can sell that will hopefully make a difference and get people back to work safely.

I think it will be hard going forward as many industries have seen a dramatic fall in business, it's also very hard to predict what will happen next.

Keep safe.

Temporary work station separator photo 4.png

temporary work station separators canteen 1.jpg

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Daniel Kirmatzis

Thank you for sharing @Gail Campbell

You are absolutely right, protecting workers is an absolute priority as the virus is still present. It looks like Fothershield's workstation separators could prove beneficial to a number of businesses who want to get employees back to work.

Best regards,

Daniel.

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Graham Cooper
On 5/6/2020 at 11:09 AM, Daniel Kirmatzis said:

At some point in the near future factories will likely be reopening but in a post Covid-19 world how do we ensure this is done right so as to protect the health and safety of all workers?

We' re looking for your tips and practical advice on how you have or are planning to manage reopening your factories. You may have remained opened during the pandemic - being one of the critical companies providing vital supplies to the nation or you may have repurposed your operations and kept part of your work-force on to make personal protective equipment (PPE) or supplies for medical devices.

Please share your thoughts on the following questions:

  1. What measures have you put in place to ensure a safe return to work?
  2. How is your workforce responding to these measures?
  3. How have these measures changed your operations?
  4. What practical advice can you offer other businesses e.g. did you buy special protective equipment for your workers and where from?
  5. What long-term changes to your business are you expecting as a result of the lockdown?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the Community.

Our factory closed down on 24th March with most of our workforce going into Furlough. We kept a small team  back to inspect the factory daily (we use corrosives in an electrochemical process) for leaks etc and to do necessary financial transactions. Prior to the shutdown on 16th March we had already introduced many measures based on the steps taken in our Chinese factory prior to them re-opening during February. e.g.

  1.  We ordered an electronic thermometer for every employee so that they could measure their temperature before coming into work and stay away if it exceeded 37.8 degrees
  2. We installed hand sanitising wipes near every workstation and in kitchenettes and toilet blocks so that keyboards, taps, door handles etc could be cleaned before touching.
  3. We gave each employee a personal container of hand sanitising gell
  4. We re-arranged our canteen removing chairs so that everybody was seated a couple of metres apart
  5. We reduced the attendees at regular plant status meetings so that social distancing could be observed
  6. We changed the cleaners routines so that communal door handles e.g. in corridors were cleaned regularly
  7. We have an attendance policy that uses the Bradford factor. We removed self isolation and actual covid 19 infection absences from this system so that there was no perverse incentive for a sick employee to come into work.

This had all barely been in place before we closed (in fact the thermometers arrived the day we closed and have now been posted out to all employees with the information letter about the closedown and furlough). We had to close because we make a semi finished product which goes to another Agfa factory in France and it had closed due to covid 19 in northern France.

Yesterday HQ in Belgium informed us that we would need to restart production in the first week of June. We have had our first web conference with the Senior Management team to start to plan the opening. We will hold these every couple of days until we have a robust plan in place,

  • We will keep in place the social distancing measures we had before the closedown
  • We will instruct all employees to measure their temperature before they come to work each day and to stay away if it exceeds 37.8 degrees.
  • We have ordered hand cleaning stations to be placed by each entrance to the factory and by each entrance to a department.
  • We have obtained a large volume of hand sanitising gell
  • We are obtaining more cleaning products for sanitising operators workstations on the production line at shift handover
  • Supervisors and managers are contacting their teams to see if anybody is on a protected list that we do not know about
  • Each manager is reviewing if or when each office based person returns or if they can work from home at least part of the week.

That is where we are at the moment. I hope this is interesting. If anything crops up in the next few weeks as we approach reopening that I believe would be of interest I'll post it.

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Graham Cooper

When typing my reply above, I clean forgot to include a vital bit of preparation we are doing that many establishments will also need to consider.

In the week before we re-open we are having our cooling towers disinfected to prevent legionella, We are also having the domestic water systems disinfected for the same reason. Water held stagnant in tanks and pipes for over 2 months can be a risk.

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Daniel Kirmatzis

Hi @Graham Cooper

Thank you for sharing this comprehensive account about what you and the team at AGFA have done and for the update on disinfecting the cooling towers. This will be a great guide for other manufacturers who are preparing their first steps after the government's announcement last night.

Best regards,

Daniel.

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Andrew Bennett
On 5/6/2020 at 11:09 AM, Daniel Kirmatzis said:

At some point in the near future factories will likely be reopening but in a post Covid-19 world how do we ensure this is done right so as to protect the health and safety of all workers?

We' re looking for your tips and practical advice on how you have or are planning to manage reopening your factories. You may have remained opened during the pandemic - being one of the critical companies providing vital supplies to the nation or you may have repurposed your operations and kept part of your work-force on to make personal protective equipment (PPE) or supplies for medical devices.

Please share your thoughts on the following questions:

  1. What measures have you put in place to ensure a safe return to work?
  2. How is your workforce responding to these measures?
  3. How have these measures changed your operations?
  4. What practical advice can you offer other businesses e.g. did you buy special protective equipment for your workers and where from?
  5. What long-term changes to your business are you expecting as a result of the lockdown?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the Community.

We are fortunate that our factory is spacious for the number of people. We installed hand sanitisers at every entrance, created three temporary kitchen areas and asked all staff to bing their own mugs, plates cutlery etc which they take home to wash. Despite the signs and the constant training we still found that people would fail to maintain the 2m rule. We have now instructed all of our staff to wear disposable visors - it seems to have had the desired result of reminding them that life is no longer normal. With the new track and trace, we can't afford for any of our team to be failing to maintain 2m and these visors seem to have done the trick. 

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Daniel Kirmatzis
9 minutes ago, Andrew Bennett said:

We are fortunate that our factory is spacious for the number of people. We installed hand sanitisers at every entrance, created three temporary kitchen areas and asked all staff to bing their own mugs, plates cutlery etc which they take home to wash. Despite the signs and the constant training we still found that people would fail to maintain the 2m rule. We have now instructed all of our staff to wear disposable visors - it seems to have had the desired result of reminding them that life is no longer normal. With the new track and trace, we can't afford for any of our team to be failing to maintain 2m and these visors seem to have done the trick. 

Hi @Andrew Bennett

Many thanks for sharing the measures you have implemented at Allan and Bertram. It's been a challenging time for manufacturers across the country but one of the key things I am hearing from manufacturers is that communication is key. Manufacturers I have been speaking to have introduced a daily update for workers to reinforce the measures that are required in the workplace in addition to a regular email so all employees know what is expected of them.

Best regards,

Daniel.

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