Bentley Motors confirmed it has introduced a set of around 250 comprehensive and wide-ranging new hygiene and social distancing measures under an employee programme called ‘Come Back Stronger’ in order to implement a safe, phased return to production at the company’s headquarters in Crewe, England, last week Monday, the 11th of May. The plan marks the biggest change to daily working life in the company’s 100-year history.
The measures are built around seven key areas – prior to leaving home, travel, entry, preparing for work, work stations, breaks and exiting the site – and are designed to protect staff at the factory, which employs over 4,000 people and where every Bentley is hand-built.
The key process changes impact all areas and includes a redesign of the manufacturing facility itself to allow a two-metre distance between work colleagues and one-way movement paths and traffic flows. Facemasks will now be 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. Personal protection equipment – including facemasks, gloves and goggles – will be provided as necessary, both to colleagues and in parallel donated to the local care sector, as well as health temperature checks for staff. 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.
This extends to new, stringent measures to control the population density on site at any one time. All entry and exit points have been reviewed and reconfigured to disperse the volume of people, there will be control measures in all catering facilities that limit capacity and allocated distanced seating, and office-based colleagues will work to a newly introduced shift-pattern. This will control the workforce density on site throughout the day, with extra defences also in place such as plastic separation screens in office areas.
A return to work guide, which covered all of the new hygiene and social distancing measures, was sent to the home addresses of all colleagues and became available to review on the Bentley Employee News app where an airline-style instructional video outlines the key changes to colleague working patterns.
Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and CEO, Bentley Motors, said: “Throughout this unprecedented crisis, the health and safety of our colleagues have, and will continue to be paramount. These extensive new working measures will allow both our people and Bentley to come back stronger than ever and even more focussed.
“The time is now right for Bentley to begin a gradual and controlled return to production while ensuring our sites are the safest place any of us can be. Everybody will be able to play their part to ensure we can continue Bentley’s extraordinary journey into the future of luxury, sustainable mobility.”
Full production is anticipated to resume on 18 May with a later, staggered return to work for office-based colleagues and those able to work from home.
During the shutdown, Bentley colleagues have worked to support the crisis efforts and the local community. The aid will continue despite the restart of production recognising that the need is on-going.
The company is using its specialist skills to 3D print over 30,000 face-shields and supply them to the Cheshire care sector, including all care homes, the NHS and other local community services.
Simultaneously, Bentley is donating personal protective equipment such as gloves, facemasks, safety glasses and seat covers. The company also extended its Bentley ‘Meals on 22-inch Wheels’ service, where colleagues volunteer to deliver essential items in the community.