Škoda Auto has announced it will be resuming production at its Czech plants on 27 April while maintaining protective measures to prevent employees from becoming infected by the coronavirus.
The car manufacturer has approved a set of comprehensive measures for all areas of the business.
More than 80 individual precautions, defined together with the social partner KOVO Union, include both specific steps to keep the workforce healthy and organizational provisions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
Production at the three Czech sites has been suspended since 18 March 2020.
The list of precautions defined by Skoda includes, for example, that all employees put on a face mask when entering the factory premises. This is also applicable to external staff. Škoda Auto will provide all colleagues with the masks required, which will have to be worn at all times whilst at work.
Each shift has been allocated with additional time to clean tools, telephones, and keyboards as well as any materials and surfaces. Furthermore, all areas will be cleaned and disinfected even more frequently.
Škoda Auto has also made some changes to daily operations in order to protect the workforce. These include adapting the way staff shuttles operate, and altering procedures at factory gates, reception points and in the canteens, as well as how working hours are recorded.
Other provisions have been made for staff in production to work in smaller, fixed teams. Briefings at shift changeover are to be as short as possible, and more break time areas have been made available in order to keep personal contact and the risk of infection to a minimum.
The precautions to be taken after production resumes are set in three stages. Until further notice, stage 1 will see all of the measures apply in full.
In stage 2, certain provisions will then be lifted. Stage 3 will allow for further, gradual easing of the measures over a prolonged period of time, ensuring this is done responsibly and in a manner that keeps people safe.
At an appropriate time, the end of this third phase will enable normal daily operations to resume, meaning any currently applicable restrictions on entering the factory premises, e.g. for visitors, will be lifted.
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Škoda Auto is increasing its support measures to fight the coronavirus and will be donating 100 Škoda Octavia – worth around 85 million CZK – to social and medical aid agencies in the Czech Republic.
Organisations helping particularly vulnerable or high-risk people, such as hospitals, social services, nursing homes, and NGOs, are eligible to apply for one of the vehicles.
The donation of cars to chosen organisations will take place from half of May.
Applications are open from 17 to 30 April 2020: organisations can submit documents via the NROS foundation website
Škoda Auto CEO, Bernhard Maier, explained, „During the corona pandemic, Škoda is focusing on providing fast, simple and effective aid. Therefore, we are supporting all those who are now particularly dependent on mobility, and are going to donate 100 OCTAVIAs worth around 85 million CZK to organisations in the social or health sector. Our responsibility as a company extends far beyond the factory gates. In the current crisis, this holds true more than ever.”
In addition, the car manufacturer’s Technical Development department has been producing 3D-printed parts for certified FFP3 respirators, and numerous departments have been manufacturing protective visors.
More than 750 respirators have been manufactured since the university developed the prototype.
Furthermore, ŠKODA Logistics is supporting the company Prusa Research in distributing protective visors, which have also been 3D-printed, to doctors’ surgeries and hospitals.
By Easter, this collaboration had already led to the distribution of 14,600 units.