With several major auto-plants already working and more due back before the end of May, the publication of new sector-specific guidance aims to get production lines rolling again.
Although manufacturing has been permitted to continue throughout the lockdown period, the closure of markets in the UK and globally, meant that the vast majority of plants were forced to halt operations.
As markets start to re-open, production lines are gradually beginning to roll again, although at a much slower pace as manufacturers enforce strict safety measures to ensure workers are protected, and market demand remains subdued.
The new guidance, published by the SMMT, covers the complete automotive manufacturing environment, including workstations, staff entrances, car parks, shared offices, meeting rooms and communal areas.
The wide-ranging advice encompasses social distancing and hygiene standards to personal protective equipment (PPE), mental health and staff communications.
Developed together with vehicle and supply chain manufacturers, it’s designed to complement government guidance for the overall UK manufacturing sector and help automotive manufacturers, from SMEs to OEMs, implement legal requirements as part of individual risk assessments in line with their unique business operations.
SMMT CEO, Mike Hawes, commented: “The Coronavirus crisis has taken a heavy toll on the automotive industry but, as lockdown measures begin to ease, at last there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
“Global markets are starting to open up and overseas demand for UK-built vehicles, engines and components will follow. However, to accelerate this crucial sector’s recovery we need all parts of the jigsaw to be in place, starting with the reopening of automotive showrooms to drive essential market demand.”
Automotive is the UK’s single biggest exporter of goods, trading with some 150 countries worldwide, and accounting for more than 14% of total exports.
The sector is one of the country’s most valuable economic assets, directly employing 168,000 people, supporting communities in every region and delivering an annual £18.6bn to the public purse.
*Header image courtesy of Depositphotos