Best Practices from Ford’s Return to Work Handbook

June 9, 2020
Ford's detailed procedures to ensure worker safety at its plants is a model other companies can follow.

Having a playbook is always the best strategy, so when Ford Motor Co. had to tackle reopening manufacturing plants they developed a very detailed playbook.

The 64-page book, “Manufacturing Return to Work Playbook,” covers an expansive list of topics providing very specific instructions and documentation on how to keep workers safe.

 “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,” Ford COO Jim Farley said in a statement on May 7.

The workbook is also being given to Fords’ suppliers, business partners and third parties to ensure they are aware of the company’s health and safety practices when onsite at Ford facilities or interacting with Ford personnel. The company considers the playbook a working document that will change to reflect both regulatory guidance and industry practices as they evolve. 

Ford is implementing a staggered approach to bring back approximately 12,000 “location-dependent” employees who are not able to do their jobs remotely, encompassing functions including product development, IT, facilities management and more. 

To ensure supplies of protective equipment, the company is producing both face masks at Van Dyke Transmission Plant and shields at its Troy Design & Manufacturing facility in Plymouth, Mich. The company said that by producing its own masks it is helping to "reduce demand on stretched supply chains for personal protection equipment also needed by medical services and other industries." 

The company is using its overseas reopening best practices as well. “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,” said Farley.

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