Toyota reveals safety changes ahead of reopening
CAMBRIDGE -- Production will officially restart at Toyota’s Cambridge plant on Wednesday, and before reopening its doors, the company is giving a preview of its new safety measures.
No vehicles have been produced at the facility since mid-March.
During the extended production shutdown the company has implemented some new safety policies.
Most employees will be required to re-enter their work space from a different door into a larger lobby within the visiting centre.
They will also be asked to fill out a health survey.
“Just on the first day,” says Frank Voss, the president of Toyota Manufacturing Canada. “After they’ve completed that survey we’re going to ask them if anything has changed.”
The company will provide masks and sanitizer, and they’ll also be taking the temperature of employees using thermal cameras similar to those used in hospitals.
“Right now it’s set at 37.2 degrees,” says Voss. “If you’re outside of that you get flagged.”
Barriers have also been installed between work spaces.
Anyone who has to work near another employee will be given a face mask, which were created at the plant using a 3D printer.
“If you are less than one metre apart it’s a requirement,” says Voss. “You will always have to have it.”
Approximately 15% of the workforce will return to work on Monday, when they’ll learn about the new safety protocols.
More people will be added each day, with the manufacturing process set to start mid-week.
Some employees are still hesitant to return to work after seeing how other manufacturers have dealt with COVID-19 cases.
“People are a little apprehensive,” says Lee Sperduti. “We see what’s going on in the news every day, what’s happening at Cargill.”
Since employees are not unionized, some worry about whether they’ll be able to get paid sick days if they begin to experience symptoms.
“There are options,” says Voss. “There is leave, depending on the symptoms and situation. We’ll work through that together with them.”
Toyota says all safety measures will be implemented at its plants in both Cambridge and Woodstock.