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Ford to resume production at Kentucky plants on May 18

The staggered approach allows Ford to effectively implement new safety protocols and provide proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for all employees.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Ford is planning to resume production at it's Kentucky plants beginning on May 18. 

Ford says it's returning some team members whose jobs cannot be performed remotely such as vehicle testing and design as well as 12,000 personnel in North America. 

RELATED: Employee of Kentucky Ford Truck Plant tests positive for coronavirus

Ford’s North American assembly plants were previously operating on three-shift patterns will return with two-shifts, most two-shift plants will return on one shift and most one-shift plants will operate on one shift. The staggered approach allows Ford to effectively implement new safety protocols and provide proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for all employees as they return to work.

Ford parts distribution centers will resume full operations in North America on May 11 to support Ford dealers in providing service to keep vehicles on the road.

Robust safety and care measures have been implemented globally to support a safe and healthy environment for the company’s workforce with health assessment measures, personal protective equipment, and facility modifications to increase social distancing. 

“We’ve been working intently with state and federal governments, our union partners, and a cross-section of our workforce to reopen our North American facilities,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s chief operating officer. “We have reopened our facilities in China, successfully begun our phased restart in Europe and have been producing medical equipment in Michigan for more than six weeks and are using the lessons from all of that to ensure we are taking the right precautions to help keep our workforce here safe.”

RELATED: Ford, GE to make 50,000 ventilators over the next 100 days

“We’ve developed these safety protocols in coordination with our union partners, especially the UAW, and we all know it will take time to adjust to them,” said Gary Johnson, Ford’s Chief Manufacturing and Labor Officer. “We are in this together and plan to return to our normal operating patterns as soon as we are confident the system is ready to support.”

To guide the workforce with the new health and safety protocols, Ford has compiled a comprehensive Manufacturing Return to Work Playbook to help protect its workforce, assembled using best practices and input from experts around the world. Some of the safety protocols include:

  • Daily online employee and visitor health self-certifications completed before work every day. Employees or visitors who indicate they may have symptoms or may have been exposed to the virus will be told not to come to Ford facilities.
  • No-touch temperature scans upon arrival – anyone with a raised temperature will not be permitted to enter and will need to be cleared of symptoms before returning to work.
  • Required face masks for everyone entering a Ford facility. Every Ford team member will be provided a care kit including face masks and other items to help keep them healthy and comfortable at work.
  • Safety glasses with side shields or face shields will be required when jobs don’t allow for social distancing.
  • There will be more time between production shifts to limit interaction between employees and allow for additional cleaning.

Ford is producing face masks at Van Dyke Transmission Plant for use at its facilities across North America and face shields at its Troy Design & Manufacturing facility in Plymouth, Mich. Company-provided face masks will be required for anyone working at a Ford site, in line with the company’s global protocols, while safety glasses or face shields will be required in some instances. By producing face masks and face shields, Ford is helping reduce demand on stretched supply chains for personal protection equipment also needed by medical services and other industries.  

RELATED: When will Kentucky Ford workers get back to work?

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