Boeing plans to resume all Commercial Airplanes production at its Puget Sound-region facilities in Washington, USA, this week using a phased approach, following the suspension of operations last month in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a key part of its resumption of production, Boeing says it is taking extra precautions and instituting comprehensive procedures at all of its sites to keep staff safe.
Approximately 27,000 people in the Puget Sound area will return to production of the Boeing 747, 767, 777 and 787 programmes, supporting global transportation infrastructure, cargo services and national defence and security missions. The 737 programme will resume working toward restarting production of the 737 MAX.
Commercial operations at Boeing South Carolina remain suspended, though earlier this week Boeing restarted mostly defence production operations in the region, with approximately 2,500 people returning to work. Boeing is resuming operations at its production facilities in Philadelphia on Monday, 20 April.
Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and senior executive in the Pacific Northwest stated, “This phased approach ensures we have a reliable supply base, our personal protective equipment is readily available, and we have all of the necessary safety measures in place to resume essential work for our customers.”
Employees in the Puget Sound region for the 737, 747, 767 and 777 lines will return as early as the third shift on 20th April, with most returning to work by April 21. Employees for the 787 programme will return as early as third shift on 23rd April, with most returning to work by 24th April.
The company’s practices reinforce enhanced cleaning, employee health and physical distancing in partnership with employees. Aligned with federal and state guidance, these practices include:
- Staggered shift start times to reduce the flow of employees arriving and departing work
- Visual controls such as floor markings and signage to create physical distance
- Face coverings will be a requirement for employees at Boeing sites in Washington. Employees are strongly encouraged to bring in their own procedural mask or face covering; those who do not have a mask available will be provided with one
- Providing required personal protective equipment to employees working in areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained for an extended period
- Asking employees to perform self-health checks before coming to work, and to stay home if they are ill
- Employee wellness checks at the beginning of every shift, and voluntary temperature screening at many manufacturing locations
- Contact tracing when an employee tests positive for Covid-19 to reduce risk to teammates
- Continued virtual meetings, and employees who can work from home will continue to do
- Transportation and common areas adjusted for physical distancing
- Hand-washing stations in high-traffic areas, and additional cleaning supplies available
These enhanced measures will continue until conditions allow for a return to regular work and cleaning processes. Boeing says it will continue to monitor government guidance on Covid-19, assess the impacts on company operations, and adjust plans as the situation evolves.