DETROIT – The COVID-19 outbreak has created problems for automakers like GM, whose auto plants can employ thousands of people with some working closely in tight spaces.
Update May 8, 2020 -- Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 46,326; Death toll now at 4,393
The automaker released ‘Returning to Work with Confidence,' a 48-page booklet that auto industry analyst Alex Calderone said hits the right notes.
“There have been UAW workers who have actually contracted the disease, potentially at work and passed away from it," Calderone said. "You have a workforce that is absolutely petrified.”
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“In these uncertain times, we must focus on controlling what we can, and we will continue to take the appropriate actions,” said GM CEO Mary Barra. ""As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, we are ready to adapt and make any changes to policy in accordance with relevant health and safety protocols issued by authorities."
The booklet takes on risk mitigation, meaning it’s working on communication and awareness of the plan; site entry, which includes temperatures and health interviews, sanitation of high touch places and work places.
It takes into account physical distancing and requires it when possible and offers protective equipment to help when it is impossible. It spends a lot of time on ventilation and critical supply management.
Barra concluded her message to employees with “We will live our values and demonstrate our behaviors in order to protect you and our company.”
“I don’t think there’s an alternative solution. Perhaps have everyone wear space suits, but that in itself would have other problems," Calderone said. "I don’t think there is any way around this. The world is changing.”
The world changing is also a part of GM’s plan. There will be things not covered in the booklet, but the company said it is willing to look at everything and make the adjustments necessary to make the workplace safe.
You can read more about GM’s efforts on their website here.
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Anyone who believes they might have coronavirus should follow the CDC guidelines. Michigan.gov has a list of resources available to those concerned about COVID-19.
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