Doosan Bobcat, one of North Dakota’s largest manufacturers, opened and resumed operations Monday, April 20, after a two-week shutdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), which the Associated Press (AP) says will put approximately 2,300 people back to work.
The AP reports that Doosan Bobcat restarted operations at plants in Gwinner, Wahpeton and Bismarck, as well as in Lichfield, Minnesota, after making numerous changes.
The company told the AP that it was not aware of any workers who have tested positive for the virus, and Doosan Bobcat says it increased cleaning and disinfecting, implemented social distancing, limited visitors and encouraged people to work remotely when possible.
The company’s spokeswoman, Stacey Breuer, told the AP that the decision to reopen was due to their strong network of dealerships across North America that needed them open to supply parts and send equipment. Breuer says it was important that they provide that needed support during this time.
“Doosan Bobcat continues to operate in the face of COVID-19 because our business is identified by federal and state governments as essential for critical infrastructure and energy production needs,” the company says in a press release. “Our efforts to keep our manufacturing facilities operational are key to ensure we can support dealers and customers whose work and services are critical to the well-being of our nation. This designation does not take away from the fact that our priority continues to be the safety and well-being of our employees and the communities we serve.”
According to the AP, Doosan idled the facilities on April 6. The company also furloughed most production employees, and the workers were not paid during the shutdown.
As operations are resumed, the company says it is taking additional precautions to meet or exceed current CDC guidelines to ensure the health and well-being of its employees.
The following protocols have been put into effect for the company:
- Employees are being provided with personal protection equipment (PPE), including face masks and gloves. Face shields may also be provided to employees in specific production areas.
- As it is essential for production employees to be onsite to do their work, Doosan has made changes for appropriate social distancing measures, such as changing shift start-up meetings, adding floor markings to map out safe distancing near time clocks, doors open during shift changes to minimize contact and limiting entry to breakroom areas.
- Hand sanitizer is available in each location in common areas. Doosan says it has implemented deep cleaning procedures and has additional disinfectant on hand per CDC guidelines.
- Doosan requires employees who are ill or have COVID-19 symptoms to stay home and not report to work. They have also established protocol and contingency plans for notification, cleaning and work stoppage if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
- The company says it is working with employees who may be at higher risk as defined by the CDC guidelines.
- Temperature testing may be conducted by an on-site nurse, HR representative or a supervisor.
- Doosan says they continue to limit visitors at all Doosan Bobcat facilities.
Breuer told the AP that if someone should contract the virus, the company does have a plan for work stoppage.