The British company's factory reopened last week,.

Bentley has outlined the package of 250 measures implemented to keep workers safe at its factory in Crewe, Cheshire, which reopened last week. The company has become the first car maker in the UK to publish a coronavirus risk assessment, allowing it to receive a government-issued poster marking it as “COVID-19 secure.”

To meet the government requirements, Bentley had to cover five bases that reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading. Not only did the company have to publish a risk assessment, but new hygiene procedures, social distancing rules, and management plans were needed, along with the ability to facilitate home working where possible.

As part of the work, Bentley discovered the need to redesign the manufacturing facility with one-way movement paths and traffic flows. Washrooms also had to be reconfigured to reduce the number of people who can use them.

At the same time, employees must now wear facemasks in factory and office areas, although those able to work from home will still be able to do so. The company has increased the cleaning routine and provided new guidelines to employees planning meetings, too, while plastic partitions have been built in areas where distancing is “challenging”. The company has even reconfigured its entrances to ensure a limited number of people can be on-site and those people are dispersed sufficiently.

Last week saw the production lines restart with the Bentayga and soon-to-be-discontinued Mulsanne starting first. This week will see Continental GT and Flying Spur production recommence.

However, Bentley says production will be running at approximately 50 percent for “a number of weeks”, as the "takt time" of each car – the average start time from one manufacturing stage to the next – has doubled. The company has also spread each production cell so they now cover two stages rather than one to ensure distancing is possible.

“Our objective, from the very beginning, was to make Bentley the safest place any colleague could be,” said Dr. Astrid Fontaine, member of the board for people, digitalization and IT. “We walked every inch of the site, looking for areas to improve and new methods to introduce. The result was 250 safety measures implemented covering all of our areas and helping to protect every one of our colleagues, their families, and our customers.

“Importantly, this government recognition gives us assurance that we have made positive steps to protect our colleagues, come back stronger, and resume our extraordinary journey.”

Gallery: Bentley resumes production in Crewe

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BENTLEY MOTORS BECOMES FIRST TO PUBLISH 'COVID-19 SECURE' RISK ASSESSMENT

  • Recognition that Bentley’s COVID-19 operational risk assessment meets the UK Government’s guidelines  
  • Over 250 new hygiene and social distancing processes successfully implemented at Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe, England
  • Robust safety measures include one way paths, compulsory facemasks for all colleagues, and health checks for staff
  • Over 1,700 Bentley colleagues returned to site this week in a phased production ramp up

(Crewe, 15 May, 2020) Bentley Motors today published its COVID-19 risk assessment, the first UK automotive manufacturer to do so, and in the process demonstrating that the company fully complies with Government guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19. 

The risk assessment, which identifies all control measures in place to manage and control the risk of the virus, has been issued to all Bentley colleagues and published on the Bentley corporate website alongside a Government issued poster marking the achievement. This follows Government direction earlier this week that all employers with more than 50 employees will need to publish their own COVID-19 risk assessment.    

On Monday, Bentley resumed production with over 1,700 colleagues following the 250 comprehensive and wide-ranging hygiene and social distancing guidelines implemented, all determined from the risk assessment, and helping to enable a safe return to work as part of Bentley’s Come Back Stronger’ programme.

Commenting at the end of a successful first week back of production, Dr. Astrid Fontaine, Member of the Board for People, Digitalisation and IT, said:             

“Our objective, from the very beginning, was to make Bentley the safest place any colleague could be. We walked every inch of the site, looking for areas to improve and new methods to introduce. The result was 250 safety measures implemented covering all of our areas, and helping to protect every one of our colleagues, their families and our customers.   

“Importantly, this Government recognition gives us assurance that we have made positive steps to protect our colleagues, come back stronger, and resume our extraordinary journey.”

The Government condition falls into five distinct categories: requiring a respective risk assessment, with the results communicated; clear cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in place; facilitating home working where feasible; maintaining social distancing on site; and a management plan to mitigate the transmission risk. 

The risk assessment, performed by a cross-functional team and under the instruction of Bentley’s Health and Safety department, highlighted the need for a redesigned manufacturing facility.

This allows two-metre distance between workers and one-way movement paths and traffic flows. The washrooms across site have also been reconfigured to reduce the number of people being able to use them.

Next week, the Continental GT and Flying Spur line will resume production and join the Bentayga and Mulsanne lines in operation. 

Across all lines, production will be running at approximately 50 per cent for a number of weeks as the takt time of each car - the average start time from one manufacturing stage to the next - has doubled. In addition, each production cell now spreads over two stages rather than one, ensuring adequate distance between colleagues.

The key process changes behind the ‘Come Back Stronger’ employee programme impact all areas. Facemasks are now compulsory in all factory and office areas, while Bentley will maintain a work from home policy for those who are able to.

The robust measures will ensure Bentley staff stay as safe as possible at all times. There is also an enhanced cleaning routine and clear guidance to the workforce on limiting the risk of infection on areas such as meeting governance, site access and travel.         

In relevant office areas and catering facilities where distancing is more challenging, plastic partitions - designed and manufactured by Bentley workers – now offer segregation between colleagues in addition to control measures limiting capacity, staggered times and distanced seating. 

There are also new, stringent measures to control the population density on site at any one time with all entry and exit points reviewed and reconfigured to disperse the volume of people.