Bentley Motors recently published its COVID-19 risk assessment, the first UK automotive manufacturer to do so, and in the process demonstrating that the company fully complies with Government guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19.
The risk assessment, which identifies all control measures in place to manage and control the risk of the virus, has been issued to all Bentley colleagues and published on the Bentley corporate website alongside a Government-issued poster marking the achievement. This follows Government direction earlier this week that all employers with more than 50 employees will need to publish their own COVID-19 risk assessment.
On Monday, Bentley resumed production with over 1,700 colleagues following the 250 comprehensive and wide-ranging hygiene and social distancing guidelines implemented, all determined from the risk assessment and helping to enable a safe return to work as part of Bentley’s Come Back Stronger’ programme.
Commenting at the end of a successful first week back of production, Dr Astrid Fontaine, Member of the Board for People, Digitalisation and IT, said:
“Our objective, from the very beginning, was to make Bentley the safest place any colleague could be. 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.”
The Government condition falls into five distinct categories: requiring a respective risk assessment, with the results communicated; clear cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in place; facilitating home working where feasible; maintaining social distancing on site; and a management plan to mitigate the transmission risk.
The risk assessment, performed by a cross-functional team and under the instruction of Bentley’s Health and Safety department, highlighted the need for a redesigned manufacturing facility.
This allows the two-metre distance between workers and one-way movement paths and traffic flows. The washrooms across the site have also been reconfigured to reduce the number of people being able to use them.
Next week, the Continental GT and Flying Spur line will resume production and join the Bentayga and Mulsanne lines in operation.
Across all lines, production will be running at approximately 50 per cent 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. In addition, each production cell now spreads over two stages rather than one, ensuring adequate distance between colleagues.
The key process changes behind the ‘Come Back Stronger’ employee programme impact all areas. Facemasks are now compulsory in all factory and office areas, while Bentley will maintain a work from home policy for those who are able to.
The robust measures will ensure Bentley staff stay as safe as possible at all times. There is also an enhanced cleaning routine and clear guidance to the workforce on limiting the risk of infection on areas such as meeting governance, site access and travel.
In relevant office areas and catering facilities where distancing is more challenging, plastic partitions – designed and manufactured by Bentley workers – now offer segregation between colleagues in addition to control measures limiting capacity, staggered times and distanced seating.
There are also new, stringent measures to control the population density on-site at any one time with all entry and exit points reviewed and reconfigured to disperse the volume of people.