As the country navigates the impact of COVID-19, we want to say thank you to our employees across America dedicating their efforts to ensure people have appliances.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on every home – including the homes of our employees and their families. Our production workers come to our manufacturing facilities each day where they build appliances that ensure American households can continue to safely store foods and medicines, make meals for their families, and eliminate germs on their clothes and dishes at a time when it is needed most. Our service team makes repairs for families across the country as they need help. To show our gratitude, we are rolling out appreciation pay of $2 additional per hour to hourly production employees and service technicians. The additional pay is our way of saying ‘Thank You’ for their efforts during this challenging time in our world.
We continue to be dedicated to protecting the health and safety of our employees and have implemented new procedures to promote a safe environment. GE Appliances has implemented no-touch temperature screenings, adjusted production lines for social distancing, installed barriers between workstations, and installed handwashing and hand sanitizer stations throughout each of our plants. Our safety precautions are dynamic, and we continue to take additional measures as we hear feedback from employees and receive revised guidance from public health officials. The health and safety of our employees comes first. We are grateful to our production and service teams for the work they do.
GEA ACTIONS TO PROTECT THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF WORKERS
Changes to our Factories
Beginning weeks ago, we took unprecedented steps to modify our factories and work habits to align with CDC guidelines and protect employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- We conducted a rapid audit to review social distancing guidelines in all nine of our U.S. factories. Changes were only necessary for 30% of positions, and jobs and workspaces have been modified to allow for at least six feet of space between employees as they work.
- In places where six feet of distance was not practicable, we have implemented other measures deemed safe by public health officials to provide additional protection, including Lexan-plastic dividers, face shields and additional safety supplies.
- Walkways and other areas where individuals may congregate throughout our plants have been marked off with 6-foot measurements and signage reminding workers to maintain social distancing and providing them the guidance they need on how to do so.
- Staggered start times were implemented for breaks and lunches to further reduce potential contact.
- Seating in cafeterias has been removed and replaced with stand-alone seats that have been spread out to 6-foot distances and capacities limited. Break areas have also been modified.
- Team huddle spots have been spread out for social distancing.
- Dedicated social distancing ambassadors have been created in every facility who monitor safe spacing, address issues as employees arrive, and ensure continuous improvement in this area.
Employee Health Management
- Every person entering any GE Appliances manufacturing facility must go through temperature screening. The screening is touchless, performed by an infrared camera and takes just seconds.
- Here is a 45-second video demonstrating this process: https://vimeo.com/402649356/d1f713dc69
- Anyone exhibiting signs of illness, such as fever and respiratory symptoms, is required to stay home from work and seek medical care.
- A coronavirus concern reporting and monitoring system has been established and is staffed around the clock to receive and address employee health and exposure concerns.
- Health professionals are available onsite at every manufacturing facility and through telemedicine to respond to employee health needs and questions.
- All employees who can work from home are working from home; this includes more than 80% of all salaried employees, 100% of our customer support employees in Louisville, and 95% of call center associates in our wholly-owned subsidiaries in Memphis and Rapid City (and we expect this to be 100% soon). This further reduces risk of exposure for those employees who cannot work from home.
Enhanced Cleaning and Sanitization at Our Facilities
We have completely overhauled the cleaning and sanitation processes in our facilities to make them as safe and sanitary as possible.
- We have increased professional cleaning and sanitization services throughout our facilities with significant additional staffing and new cleaning standards of work
- 500 portable hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations are available on the factory floors and our building grounds, adding to the 300 handwashing and sanitizing stations that already existed.
- Personal protective supplies have been made readily available for employee use along with more than 2,670 sanitizing spray bottles and wipes for workstations.
- Regular bathroom checks have been increased to four cleaning rounds per bathroom per shift.
- We conducted enhanced steam cleanings in all bathrooms.
- We have ensured all high-touch areas are cleaned multiple times per shift.
- These areas include, but are not limited to doorknobs, turnstiles, air guns, fixtures, tool grips, equipment touchpoints, powered industrial vehicle touchpoints, light switches, vending machines, bid-boards, timeclocks, tool crib countertops, touchpoints on docks, and handrails.
- We are working better together, bringing together leaders and experts inside and outside of the company to promote the health and safety of our employees.
Working Better Together
- A dedicated team of GEA leaders focused on the COVID-19 crisis meets multiple times 24/7 to review the best actions to protect the health of all of us.
- We have invited local public health officials to visit our facilities and provide guidance on any additional recommended steps—and implemented all recommendations immediately. And, we continue to have open daily discussions with our employees on the production floors to receive feedback and suggestions for additional improvements.
- We are continuously auditing new COVID-19 health and safety protocols and coaching our team members for improvements as we all get used to this different way of working safely together. We are also following the CDC research and will continue to evolve our protocols to ensure adherence to expert recommendations in the workplace.
- We will continue to work on ways to ensure employee peace of mind in collaboration with our teams during this ever-changing situation.