Apr 22 2020
Until March 17, Toyota’s plant in Onnaing, France, was turning out about 1,000 cars/day with 4,500 employees. Management closed it then on orders of the French government due to COVID-19. They are now restarting it, with an initial goal of making 50 cars/day. The changes they have made are highlighted in the following video but the narration is in French. Even if you can’t follow it, please look at the pictures, and check out the explanations below.
Entering the plant
On arrival, the employees get a temperature check, clean their hands, and receive a bag with instructions on how to interact safely, hydroalcoholic gel, and a mask they must wear. They walk by a poster graphically showing symptoms to look for and instructions to go home if they feel any.
Getting to and from work stations
Toyota redesigned the inside of the factory to support social distancing: markings on the ground and traffic lanes in walking aisles. They suspended all the food services. They closed the cafeterias, turned off the vending machines and the water fountains are off. The employees receive individual water bottles when entering the plant and bring their own lunches.
Modifications to work stations
Besides masks, some employees will also wear plastic visors produced on site. On the door line, they placed opaque barriers between facing workstations. They are still modifying some workstations.
The restart plan
The pace of work will initially be slow, for a smooth restart. For the moment only a few workshops have restarted their activity.
The majority of the unions have validated the approach but admit that anxiety persists. To make it easier, the unions have asked the company to set up psychological support for worried employees.
They expect to produce the first car on Thursday, April 24. It will be a test of the ability of these countermeasures to contain COVID-19. The video does not explain a testing policy to monitor possible contagion inside the plant.