Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has restarted light commercial vehicle production at the Sevel Sud plant in Atessa, Italy that it shares with the PSA Group.
The plant produces the Fiat Professional Ducato, the Citroen Relay and the Peugeot Boxer.
To guard against spreading the coronavirus FCA implemented a series of health and safety measures, which it agreed with Italian trade unions, before sanctioning the return to work of most of the plant’s 6,000-strong workforce.
These included the sanitisation of over 300,000 m2 of workshop floor, installation of around 130 dispensers of hand sanitiser, posting of information on prevention [of infection] on 15 large billboards and 25 video monitors, distribution of over 6,000 information brochures and 18,000 posters, installation of a dozen body temperature monitoring cameras at plant entrances and over 600 points equipped with disinfectant materials for employees to clean the equipment they use during their shift.
Limited activities have also resumed at the plants in Cassino, Pomigliano, Termoli and Mirafiori that supply components for the Sevel facility.
Before reopening the Sevel plant on 27 April, Pietro Gorlier, COO for FCA's EMEA region, said: “At the Sevel plant in Atessa today, we have demonstrated that protecting our workers is our main priority. Today's reopening of the Sevel plant, together with R&D activities and pre-series production of electric and hybrid models in Turin and Melfi, is the result of rigorous analysis and preparation carried out in collaboration with leading virologists and other experts and agreed with all trade unions.
“We have been working daily with the Italian government and local authorities to prepare for a return to production in Italy, while ensuring there is no compromise to the safety of anyone working at any of our production facilities or offices.”
Prior to the start of production, all Sevel employees were sent a link via WhatsApp and email to a webpage explaining measures to be taken in each production area, including maintaining a minimum distance of one metre between individuals.
FCA says further training on safety standards will be made available via e-learning, standard internal communications channels and by sector managers with the support of specialised medical personnel.
Every employee at the Sevel plant has been issued with a personal kit containing surgical masks and gloves (to be replenished daily), as well as a pair of safety glasses to be worn when cleaning their individual workstations.
Production was suspended at the Sevel plant on 17 March in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.