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Vauxhall preparing for safe re-opening of Ellesmere Port plant

Preparations are being made to re-open Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory following coronavirus shutdown

Vauxhall has begun preparations that will allow it to safely reopen its Ellesmere Port factory, which was shut down a month ago in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

During the lockdown, Vauxhall says it has been developing protocols and health protection measures that will enable its workforce to return to the site when it is deemed appropriate to reopen.

The measures have been approved by management and “fully audited”, the company claims. Vauxhall has also invited Unite – the trade union body that represents the plant’s employees – to conduct a final review of the protocols before manufacturing can begin again.

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More than 100 new safety measures are to be brought in by the company, covering industrial, administrative, research and development and also commercial sectors of the factory. Staff will have their temperature checked, and everyone will be required to be vigilant of any symptoms associated with Covid-19.

Face masks will be provided daily, with staff being instructed to maintain a safe distance from one another in line with the government advice to stay two metres apart from non-household members. To this end, break areas will have markings on the floor to help employees space themselves out.

Meanwhile, all doors (with the exception of fire doors) will be left open to limit contact with handles, with tools and work surfaces regularly cleaned to limit the risk of infection by shared contact of objects and materials. Where necessary, parts that change hands within the company without being cleaned will have to pass a set waiting time without being touched.

No date has been given for the reopening of the factory at this stage, and Vauxhall says any resumption will take into account the operating capacity permitted by the authorities as and when restrictions are lifted.

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