Less than 24 hours after Ford Motor Co. temporarily shut down plant operations at its Kansas City Assembly Plant after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 – the third time in the span of a week the company’s been forced to do so – it had to close a line at its Chicago stamping plant.
The automaker closed down part of the Kansas City plant for a short period Tuesday to conduct the requisite cleaning and sanitization of that part of the plant, which makes the F-150 and Transit van. The approximately one-hour closure impacted only the Transit van line, according to Ford officials.
That was followed by the move at its Chicago stamping plant to perform a deep clean in part of the facility where a COVID-19-positive employee had been, according to the company. The stamping plant is adjacent to the Chicago Assembly plant, which was closed down last week. It’s unclear at this point if another person had been diagnosed or if this was follow up treatment for last week’s event. A Ford spokesperson told TheDetroitBureau.com in an email the automaker isn’t providing additional details at this time.
The automaker issued a statement not only about the Kansas City plant, but also Chicago.
“The safety of our workforce is our top priority. Working closely with the UAW and external experts in infectious disease and epidemiology, we have developed safety standards to protect our workforce,” the company said in the statement regarding the Chicago facility.
“In this instance, our protocol calls for us to do enhanced cleaning and disinfect the employees’ work area, equipment, team area and the path that the employee took while at the plant today. We temporarily paused production on one line at Chicago Stamping Plant to complete enhanced cleaning and deployed employees to another part of the plant to work.
“Production on the affected line resumes later today. We are notifying people known to have been in close contact with the infected individual and asking them to self-quarantine for 14 days.”
Last week, the company had to shut down and clean plants its Chicago and Dearborn, Michigan facilities after workers tested positive. UAW workers at the Dearborn plant declined to return to work for a short period of time due to concerns about the safety of the plant.
The problems came just two days after the automaker, as well as its Detroit rivals General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, reopened its facilities in the U.S. The company has gone through painstaking efforts to try to ensure the safety of plant workers – COO Jim Farley saying he’d let his family work in a plant – but over the concerns of the UAW.
Like Ford, FCA has also had to deal with COVID-positive employees and instituted its safety protocols in each instance.