The British company's factory reopened last week,.
Bentley has outlined the package of 250 measures implemented to keep workers safe at its factory in Crewe, Cheshire, which reopened last week. The company has become the first car maker in the UK to publish a coronavirus risk assessment, allowing it to receive a government-issued poster marking it as “Covid-19 secure”.
To meet the government requirements, Bentley had to cover five bases that reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading. Not only did the company have to publish a risk assessment, but new hygiene procedures, social distancing rules and management plans were needed, along with the ability to facilitate home working where possible.
As part of the work, Bentley discovered the need to redesign the manufacturing facility with one-way movement paths and traffic flows. Washrooms also had to be reconfigured to reduce the number of people who can use them.
At the same time, employees must now wear facemasks in factory and office areas, although those able to work from home will still be able to do so. The company has increased the cleaning routine and provided new guidelines to employees planning meetings, too, while plastic partitions have been built in areas where distancing is “challenging”. The company has even reconfigured its entrances to ensure a limited number of people can be on site and those people are dispersed sufficiently.
However, Bentley says production will be running at approximately 50 percent for “a number of weeks”, as the ‘takt time’ of each car - the average start time from one manufacturing stage to the next - has doubled. The company has also spread each production cell so they now cover two stages rather than one to ensure distancing is possible.
“Our objective, from the very beginning, was to make Bentley the safest place any colleague could be,” said Dr. Astrid Fontaine, member of the board for people, digitalisation and IT. “We walked every inch of the site, looking for areas to improve and new methods to introduce. The result was 250 safety measures implemented covering all of our areas, and helping to protect every one of our colleagues, their families and our customers.
“Importantly, this government recognition gives us assurance that we have made positive steps to protect our colleagues, come back stronger, and resume our extraordinary journey.”