Ford’s plants around the world have been slowly reopening and resuming production on a limited basis amid the COVID-19 pandemic. First, Ford production restarted in China, followed by Europe, and North America, with a few plants opening later than others both in Europe and in North America. And now, Ford Argentina has joined the list of reopened plans by restarting production at its Pacheco Stamping and Assembly Plant, which currently builds the Ford Ranger for South America.
Ford Argentina made the decision to reopen its Pacheco plant after evaluating public health conditions, the actions and recommendations of government authorities, and the preparation of its supplier network.
“The health and safety of our employees is our first priority,” said Gabriel López, President of Ford Argentina, in a press released translated from Spanish by Ford Authority. “For the past few weeks we have been closely monitoring the pandemic situation in our country as we worked intensively to redesign our processes, work protocols, and facilities to ensure the health and safety of all when we return to our workplace.”
As has been the case with other Ford plants around the world, the process of returning to work will be gradual so that employees have ample time to adapt to new health and safety protocols, and in a way that allows the supply chain to get back to normal. Ford has implemented its new Return To Work Playbook at the plant, which includes a series of protocols including the following.
- Daily self-certifications of employee and visitor health completed before leaving for work. Employees or visitors who indicate they may have symptoms or have been exposed to the virus will be asked not to come to Ford’s facilities.
- Non-contact temperature scans upon arrival at company premises: no person with high temperature will be allowed to enter
- Cap mouths will be required for all who enter Ford facilities. Each member of the Ford team will receive a care kit that includes mouth caps and other items to help them stay healthy and comfortable at work.
- Likewise, safety glasses with side protectors or facial protectors will be provided when the work does not allow social distancing.
- More time will be available between production shifts to limit interaction between employees and allow for constant additional cleaning.
For now, the Pacheco plant is running on one shift, and employees who are able to work remotely will continue to do so. In addition, Ford Argentina parts and accessories distribution centers are operating at their full capacity.
Ford Argentina has also been producing face shields at the Pacheco Plant for the use of its employees, along with ramping up PPE inventory for medical personnel and others who need it. It has also donated the use of fleet vehicles and 20,000 face shields produced at the plant to volunteers and medical workers.