First cars roll-off Halewood production line following return to work

First socially-distanced car off Halewood production line

The Halewood Jaguar Land Rover plant on Merseyside has marked its first vehicle produced under social distancing measures.

The plant, Knowsley, returned to production of Land Rovers on June 8, following closure from March 23, due to the coronavirus.

Halewood produces the top-selling  Range Rover Evoque and the updated Land Rover Discovery Sport models.

Effective social distancing, hygiene and health monitoring measures are in place following an extensive review of all production lines, engineering facilities, office areas and communal spaces as the company starts a phased return to manufacturing.

The company stressed that employees’ health and wellbeing are at the centre of this plan and, with the implementation of the new protocol, staff have experienced a significant number of changes to their working day from the moment they enter the site.

Measures include temperature checks with thermal cameras, a two-metre distance between people wherever possible, personal protective equipment (PPE) where that is not the case, the introduction of one-way systems and enhanced cleaning at the plants.

In addition, JLR is offering every employee a reusable face visor made by the company.

Trevor Leeks, operations director at JLR Halewood, said before production restarted: “Seeing the first Land Rovers come off the line will be a defining moment for us.

“It marks the end of our temporary shutdown and signals the beginning of a return to normality. But, of course, this is a new normal.

“People will be experiencing many emotions, ranging from worry about hygiene to relief at being able to return to work and excitement at seeing colleagues again.

“The health and wellbeing of our employees has been our primary concern in the build-up to this point. Throughout the coming months, I know that as a team we will do all we can to ‘Stay safe. Be kind. Stay well’.”

In addition to new measures onsite, colleagues were asked to take additional actions before returning to work.

These included completing an online clinical questionnaire, signing up to a health and wellbeing charter, and monitoring their temperature at home before each shift.

Dr Steve Iley, JLR’s chief medical officer, said: “We have been going through unprecedented times and my thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted by COVID-19, as well as with the healthcare professionals, whose role fighting coronavirus is appreciated around the world.

JLR staff applying sealer in visors

“Clearly, the health, safety and wellbeing of the Jaguar Land Rover family is our primary concern.

“We have developed the most effective protocol and guidelines so that our people feel reassured about coming back to the workplace.

“Our measures are based on extensive medical and operational review, including lessons learned from our teams in China and Slovakia.

“We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation, following the guidance of all relevant authorities in the markets in which we operate, and will adapt quickly as that guidance changes.”

Des Quinn, Unite the Union National Officer, said: “We are satisfied that Jaguar Land Rover has not only implemented government guidance, but has gone above and beyond to satisfy and ensure as many safe systems as possible are in place from the minute employees arrive to the minute they leave work.”