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The automotive manufacturing industry shares its COVID-19 protocols

 The Chief Executive Officers of major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs); together with a senior representative of independent vehicles importers; and executive committee members of vehicle components manufacturers, met on Tuesday morning to discuss and reflect on the automotive industry’s collective response to COVID-19 and to consider the impact of some of the measures announced by President Cyril RAMAPHOSA on Sunday evening.
The automotive industry plays an indispensable transformative role that contributes directly to the sustainable development of the country’s productive economy. The sector and its entire value chain is a major industrial and economic force that adds real value every day, by providing mobility; facilitating trade; creating sustainable jobs; moving people, goods and services; and by serving communities and creating prosperity for the people of South Africa. In order to reduce the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus, the industry has decided to implement a number of measures to some of the industry’s standard operating procedures effective immediately.

Gatherings of more than 100 people in the workplace

  • all gatherings and meetings in auditoriums and other venues, where more than 100 people will attend, will be cancelled;
  • all plant tours at vehicle manufacturing plants have been cancelled;
  • visitors, suppliers, customers, key stakeholders and members of the public will be expected to sign a Visitor Declaration Form when entering manufacturing plants or any of the automotive corporate offices;
  • all industry-related meetings will be held online. Face-to-face meetings must be avoided unless necessary. Should a physical meeting be unavoidable, they MUST comply with agreed protocols (e.g. distance, hygiene, access regulations) and details must be recorded (attendance register and adherence to hygiene requirement minuted);
  • the number of seats in canteens will be reduced significantly and extended time slots for lunch breaks will implemented to allow for smaller groups in canteen areas;
  • only hot meals will be served in disposal containers with disposable cutlery. No cold food preparation.

Workplace Hygiene/Employee Welfare

  • the roll out of hand sanitisers has commenced in many of our manufacturing plants and offices and these will continue until fully implemented across all sites;
  • the following workplace disinfection measures will be implemented effective immediately:
  • [i] frequent cleaning of all change rooms, canteens, and turnstiles during the day;
  • [ii] cleaning of green areas, meeting rooms and offices. The industry is working with different service providers to commence with all the above.
  • all auto industry facilities will remove all towel dispensers and replace these with paper towels; and
  • all our onsite health and medical services will remain on full alert to assist employees and visitors as a need arise.

International Travel

  • all international travel is prohibited until further notice;
  • all employees returning from international travel must undergo a self- imposed 14-day quarantine. During this time, employees will need to:
  • [i] check their temperature twice per day;
  • [ii] monitor for symptoms (fever, dry cough, breathing difficulties, gastrointestinal issues, general body aches);
  • [iii] if they show any of the above symptoms, they need to contact a doctor for an assessment and possible testing.
  • after the quarantine period, employees should make an appointment with their onsite health services for screening and confirmation of their fitness to return to work; and
  • all employees on quarantine will be treated as special COVID-19 sick leave.

 Receiving of Visitors

  • in-bound overseas visits will be cancelled until further notice;
  • any overseas visitors, who are already en-route to South Africa, must follow the same medical screening procedures for returning international travellers as discussed above.

Quarantine Protocols

  • any employee, customer, supplier of visitor who tests positive for COVID-19 will be immediately quarantined. The NICD will also be immediately notified;
  • all primary contacts of the positive patient will have to undergo a self-imposed quarantine for 14 days;

Impact on production or manufacturing of vehicles and components

All OEMs will continue to work very closely with their supply chain component manufacturers and partners to monitor developments locally and globally. Currently there are NO planned disruptions to any manufacturing lines across the country. Similarly, component manufacturers are encouraged to plan for production as per customer requirements. NAAMSA and NAACAM will work through the Supply Chain Committee to monitor any production constraints and we will keep the market timeously informed should there be material changes in this regard.