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Riopele released at the beginning of March its contingency plan, following the guidelines of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) and the recommendations of the World Health Organization, to ensure compliance with all safety measures necessary to protect its workers, partners and customers.
It is a priority for Riopele to have a positive social impact and to look after the well-being of our workers and families. To achieve that and to set an example, the smoking ban was already extended in 2019 to all spaces owned by the company, whether covered or uncovered areas, a decision based mainly on public health and safety reasons.
Even before the start of the outbreak, Riopele began taking preventive measures against the new Coronavirus COVID-19 by providing means of individual protection and disinfectant gel to potentially exposed employees, such as those who had to travel abroad.
To call attention to this extraordinary situation, which may worsen in the coming weeks, several urgent meetings were held on the 13th of March in each of the five production sectors between the Board and those responsible for the different shifts at the shop-floor level. The objective was to raise awareness to this issue and reinforce the need for an effective compliance with all established guidelines, namely in terms of individual hygiene and disinfection of work areas.
Concerning security measures, Riopele has limited the access of external people (suppliers, customers and others) to the strictly necessary and urgent and, in conjunction with the security company, applies a questionnaire to all who access the company premises. Besides, gel dispensers were placed at strategic points with the highest flow of people, namely at the entrance of the buildings and next to time clocks, and cleaning and disinfestation services in the different areas of the company, such as locker rooms and bars, were reinforced.
Guidelines were established for the production areas that limit the circulation of workers between productive blocks and require phased entry between shifts, blocks and sectors, to reduce social contact. Also, three 6m length containers have already been rented to support the changing rooms in “Spinning B and Stranding”, and 2 more 8m containers will arrive to support the changing rooms in the “Weaving” sector. They will thus allow avoiding possible large gatherings at the start and end of shifts during the coming months. In Block A, the bar next to the Medical Center was also adapted to support the changing rooms in the “Finishing” and “Logistics” sectors.
On the other hand, a staggering of the support teams that can work remotely was implemented in a preventive regime, and work meetings were reduced to the strictly needed and indispensable for the business.
In the company’s cafeteria and social areas, the turnover of employees was also increased to avoid gatherings, and each area of the company adopted specific and particular preventive measures in line with the general contingency plan, namely in the identification of risk groups.
Thus, the response to customer orders, the production activity and the delivery of products continue to be processed, in compliance with all established safety and hygiene rules.
More than ever, all employees are called on to be members of the same team, each one bearing a degree of shared responsibility for the collective effort that the moment demands. An effort to defend the public health and the health of each worker, to keep the factory operating and, thus, to ensure the continuity of the company and a legacy with more than 90 years of history.