Ford converts Windsor Engine Plant to produce plastic face shields

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Windsor Star/Dave Waddell

 

Ford Motor Company has converted space in its Windsor Engine Plant and has begun producing plastic protective face shields for healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The shields will be donated for use in Ontario and the rest of the country, but the first shipments have already gone out locally.
 
Monday there were 300 shields delivered to Aspen Lake Nursing Home and 100 to the LaSalle police.
 
Tuesday shipments are scheduled for Windsor Regional Hospital (2,000), OPP Essex (225), Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare Long Term Care (400), Leamington Hospital (800), the Downtown Mission (120) and Sunrise Living (100).
 
“Ford of Canada has a long history of supporting Canada and its communities in times of need,” said Dean Stoneley, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company of Canada, in a joint statement with Unifor.
 
“By repurposing our production facilities in Windsor to meet the urgent demand for face shields, we can help protect the lives of our heroic healthcare professionals and first responders as they continue to treat the most vulnerable among us.”
 
Ford also confirmed it’s still in discussions with the provincial and federal governments on how the company can further aid the effort to produce medical supplies in short supply.
 
Unifor national president Jerry Dias said the company and union worked together on the set up of the plant to ensure worker safety.
 
“I am incredibly grateful to our members at Ford in Windsor for doing a tremendous service for their community and their country during this national emergency,” Dias said.
 
“I commend Ford for working with Unifor to ensure that strict health and safety protocols are in place that will ensure our members can manufacture badly needed medical supplies and return home safely to their homes and families.”
 
Ford also confirmed it’s still in discussions with the provincial and federal governments on how the company can further aid the effort to produce medical supplies in short supply.
 
Unifor national president Jerry Dias said the company and union worked together on the set up of the plant to ensure worker safety.
 
“I am incredibly grateful to our members at Ford in Windsor for doing a tremendous service for their community and their country during this national emergency,” Dias said.
 
“I commend Ford for working with Unifor to ensure that strict health and safety protocols are in place that will ensure our members can manufacture badly needed medical supplies and return home safely to their homes and families.”
 
D’Agnolo said it’s expected each employee could produce up to 200 shields a day.
 
In addition to the shields, Ford of Canada and its employees have already donated 2,900 pairs of Nitrile gloves to the Brampton Civic Hospital and 80 N95 masks to the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital.
 
Windsor is the third production facility Ford will re-tool for producing medical equipment in North America.
 
The company has opened up its Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., to produce ventilators, in collaboration with GE Healthcare.
 
Production will reach 50,000 ventilators by July 4 and will be done by approximately 500 paid UAW volunteers.
 
Ford also announced it’s preparing its Flat Rock, Michigan Assembly Plant to produce respirators.
 
Ford, the UAW and Unifor are implementing several upgraded safety precautions at the plants to protect workers.
 
Workers will have to self-certify online every day that they are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. If they are, they will not be allowed to work.
 
Workstations will be spaced at least six feet apart to maintain proper physical distancing. Shifts will be separated so there is no contact between workers in the different shifts.