How can assembly lines practice social distancing?

According to what is known about the transmission of COVID-19, limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of the virus. As businesses begin returning to operations, it’s important for businesses to understand how they can practice social distancing.

Assembly lines are one area in manufacturing facilities where it can be difficult for employees to keep a distance from others, but employers can take steps to protect their workforce.

Reconfigure Work Stations

First, you will want to evaluate your production line and decide whether or not changing the layout is feasible in your facility. If it is, configure work stations so operators have a six foot distance between one another on all sides (side-to-side and front-to-back).

This may be an opportune time to try a one-piece flow assembly line to keep up efficiency! Each workstation is responsible for one task, and stations are arranged in the order of production, reducing wastes over overproduction and excess inventory. This can also give you a chance to completely sanitize equipment, machinery, and tools at each workstation.

Make it Visual

Is your social distancing message being clearly communicated to your employees?  More than just posting safety signs, which employees can become blind to over time, use floor tape, floor signs, and floor marking shapes to make it easy to understand. For instance, you could place floor signs at each station, so operators know exactly where to stand to maintain a 6-foot distance. This is especially important for production lines where reconfiguration is not feasible.

For workers coming to and from the production lines at shift changes, create walkways reminding workers to keep their distance from each other, and post signs encouraging everyone to practice social distancing while on their breaks. Additionally, you can use safety signs to promote frequent handwashing and good respiratory hygiene.

Go Virtual

Some assembly lines have embraced new technology to maintain social distancing while continuing operations. One company, for example, offers live streaming of lines, instant replay, video inspection, process analysis all available from a computer, allowing engineers, managers, and designers, to work away from the production line. On the other hand, Samsung offers a social distancing management solution through the use of smart watches,

Businesses right now have a crucial role in maintaining a healthy workplace to protect overall public health.


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