A BMW X3 rolls down the production line in Rosslyn. The plant is set to close for at least a month as part of the company's Covid-19 plan.
A BMW X3 rolls down the production line in Rosslyn. The plant is set to close for at least a month as part of the company's Covid-19 plan.

Motor industry takes tough action on virus

By Edward West Time of article published Mar 19, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - The local motor and component manufacturing industry, employing some 475000 jobs nationally, yesterday implemented tough measures to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

However, unlike some of the global vehicle manufacturers in European countries where the spread of the virus is worse than in South Africa, all local plants would remain operational.

Local industry car sales had been declining this year in line with the weak economy, but the outcome of the national state of emergency on the demand for vehicles was unknown at this stage, as the state of emergency had only recently been announced, said Mike Mabasa, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) executive director.

Naamsa and the National Association of Automobile Component Manufacturers of South Africa said in a statement yesterday, however, that all gatherings of more than 100 people in the workplace would be cancelled, as were all plant tours. Visitors to plants and offices would sign a visitor declaration form on entering plants or any of the corporate offices. In-bound overseas visits were cancelled.

All industry-related meetings would be held online. Face-to-face meetings would be avoided and should a physical meeting be unavoidable, protocols regarding distance, hygiene, access regulations, with all details to be recorded, would be complied with.

The number of canteen seats would be reduced, and extended time slots for lunch breaks would allow for smaller groups in canteen areas. Only hot meals would be served in disposable containers with disposable cutlery and no cold food would be prepared.

The roll-out of hand sanitisers had commenced in many of the plants and offices and would be implemented across all sites. Workplace disinfection measures would be implemented.

Towel dispensers would be removed and replaced with paper towels. Onsite health and medical services would remain on alert.

International travel for staff was prohibited while all employees returning from international travel had to undergo a self-imposed 14-day quarantine. During this time employees would need to monitor their symptoms, and contact a doctor for an assessment and possible testing of any symptoms.

After the quarantine period, employees had to make an appointment with their on-site health services for screening and confirmation of their fitness to return to work, and employees on quarantine would be treated as special Covid-19 sick leave.

Any employee, customer, supplier or visitor who tested positive for Covid-19 would be immediately quarantined. All primary contacts of the positive patient would have to undergo a self-imposed quarantine for 14 days.

Vehicle manufacturers would continue to work closely with supply chain component manufacturers and partners to monitor developments locally and globally.


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