Auto industry adopts Covid-19 protocols to fight pandemic

Brian Joss – The chief executive officers of major Original Equipment Manufacturers [OEMs]; together with a senior representative of Independent Vehicles Importers; and executive committee members of vehicle components manufactures, met yesterday to discuss and to reflect on the automotive industry’s collective response to Covid-19 and to consider the impact of some of the measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday evening.    

The automotive industry plays an indispensable transformative role that contributes directly to the sustainable development of the country’s productive economy.  The sector and its entire value chain is a major industrial and economic force that adds real value every day, by providing mobility; facilitating trade; creating sustainable jobs; moving people, goods and services; and by serving communities and creating prosperity for the people of South Africa.  In order to reduce the risk of transmission of the Covid-19 virus, the industry has decided to implement a number of measures to some of the industry’s standard operating procedures effective immediately. 

Gatherings of more than 100 people in the workplace: all gatherings and meetings in auditoriums and other venues, where more than 100 people will attend, will be cancelled; all plant tours at vehicle manufacturing plants have been cancelled; visitors, suppliers, customers, key stakeholders and members of the public will be expected to sign a Visitor Declaration Form when entering manufacturing plants or any of the automotive corporate offices; all industry-related meetings will be held online. Face-to-face meetings must be avoided unless necessary. Should a physical meeting be unavoidable, they must comply with agreed protocols [ distance, hygiene, access regulations] and details must be recorded [attendance register and adherence to hygiene requirement minuted]; the number of seats in canteens will be reduced significantly and extended time slots for lunch breaks will implemented to allow for smaller groups in canteen areas; only hot meals will be served in disposal containers with disposable cutlery. No cold food preparation.

Workplace Hygiene/Employee Welfare: the roll out of hand sanitisers has commenced in many of our manufacturing plants and offices and these will continue until fully implemented across all sites; the following workplace disinfection measures will be implemented effective immediately: frequent cleaning of all change rooms, canteens, and turnstiles during the day; cleaning of green areas, meeting rooms and offices. All auto industry facilities will remove all towel dispensers and replace these with paper towels; and all the onsite Health and Medical Services will remain on full alert to assist employees and visitors. Other measures include a ban on all international travel and all employees returning from abroad must go into self-quarantine and among other things,  monitor their symptoms: fever, dry cough, breathing difficulties, gastrointestinal issues and general body aches. If they show any of the symptoms, they need to contact a doctor for an assessment and possible testing. 

All OEMs will continue to work very closely with their supply chain component manufacturers  and partners to monitor developments locally and globally. Currently there are no planned disruptions to any of the manufacturing lines across unless there are material changes.

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