Aston Martin Lagonda is this week beginning a carefully planned phased return to work for a number of its manufacturing staff as the business looks to prudently restart car making while adjusting to the new normal in the nation’s ongoing battle to protect the NHS and overcome the threat of COVID-19.
Working closely with the trade unions, Aston Martin Lagonda has developed detailed return-to-work protocols to be followed by employees returning to their jobs at the brand’s manufacturing facility in St Athan, Wales. Production workers at the company’s global headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire will follow at a later date, as will office and support staff at Aston Martin Lagonda’s various other UK sites.
The meticulously planned Site Operating Procedures are aimed at protecting individual staff members, their colleagues, their families and the wider community. The social distancing, health and hygiene instructions cover every aspect of a staff member’s interaction with work from preparing to leave home to arriving on site; navigating the site; breaks and mealtimes; falling ill whilst at work; dealing with visitors and contractors; and leaving the site. There is also detailed guidance on PPE management; travel between Aston Martin Lagonda sites; and pool car arrangements.
Dozens of individual actions and instructions have been drawn up to support social distancing, with carefully calculated limits on employee numbers on site and working at any given time to support staff actions. Appropriate PPE is being provided to all returning staff, for example mandatory use of masks at all time while on site, temperature checks on arrival at work are also being introduced.
Scott Ward, Director of Manufacturing at Aston Martin Lagonda’s St Athan site, said: “The safety and ongoing good health of our staff is absolutely paramount in our thinking as we slowly and carefully return to car building.
“The arrangements we have put in place here for our phased return to work as we continue to build the brand’s first SUV – the highly anticipated DBX – are designed to support the health and safety of staff while, of course, doing everything we can to ensure we do not add to the burden already being borne by the incredibly dedicated frontline staff of the NHS.”
Philip Reardon, Senior Shop Steward and Health and Safety Representative, Unite Wales, said: “Unite the Union is working closely with Aston Martin Lagonda to ensure, above all, a safe return to work for all staff as the business looks to move on from the lockdown phase. In doing so, our members are supporting the shared desire to deliver a sustainable business for all those working not only at St Athan but across the Aston Martin business in the UK.”
Over the past weeks Aston Martin Lagonda staff have been engaged in a number of activities designed to help in the fight against COVID-19, from the manufacture of various items of PPE to the offer of free emergency repairs to NHS workers’ cars.