Toyota Ontario Plants Restarting This Week
A five-step readiness process is being implemented at Toyota manufacturing facilities across North America.
Toyota has announced that it will be reopening its assembly plants in Ontario starting later this week. The plants, located in Cambridge and Woodstock, ON, are home to around 10,000 workers as well as some of the automaker’s most popular models. It will be a phased ramp-up of production and it will come with a host of new safety and hygiene protocols to help make sure workers are not bringing or spreading COVID-19 to the workplace.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada has three plants, building the Toyota RAV4 crossover (including the Hybrid model) as well as the Lexus RX 350 and 450h crossovers, employing approximately 8,500 workers, plus providing jobs to many thousands more working at suppliers to the plant. An exact date wasn’t given, but the automaker said production would resume this week.
“We want to be sure that all of our employees understand our new protocols,” TMMC President Frank Voss said. “And that we then resume working at a pace that supports a safe work environment for everyone.”
The five-step readiness process is being implemented at Toyota manufacturing facilities across North America. Step one is return to work readiness, including sanitizing the plant, stocking with personal protective equipment, and laying out walking paths and other areas to enhance distancing. Two is daily and weekly updates for all staff. Three is safely returning to work under the new guidelines and processes and making sure expectations are met. Four is manufacturing readiness, making sure quality is “built into the process”. Finally, step five is contingency and risk mitigation.
At the plants, the automaker has implemented new health checks including temperature scans using thermal cameras as well as mandatory use of hand sanitizer on entry and is supplying face masks. Workstations and common areas have been reassessed to enhance physical distancing and provide PPE, and Voss says that “in any places where physical distancing can’t be accomplished, we’ve installed physical barriers and required the use of additional personal protective equipment.”
Toyota says that as a starting point for their new processes they’ve ensured to meet guidelines set by applicable health authorities and have examined and benchmarked what other manufacturers, automotive and otherwise, are doing to keep staff safe.
“The auto industry is a critical contributor to restoring the Canadian economy after the country-wide shutdown, and TMMC is proud to be playing a role in that recovery,” said Voss. “The time is right to re-start – and Toyota is ready.”
Toyota didn’t state how quickly it would bring production to normal levels, or how many workers would be returning and when.