Production returns in Crewe as Bentley invests in elevated, systematic antigen testing programme
New site risk assessment app encourages increased colleague vigilance and promotes proactive reporting system
Emphasis on flexible working patterns to reduce lockdown childcare difficulties and promote work/life balance
Laptops and Wi-Fi provision for colleagues and wider community to support children’s home education
Bentley colleagues encouraged to support key local activities – including vaccine deployment and ‘Meals on 22 inch wheels’ service to vulnerable members of the community
(Crewe, 18 January, 2021) Bentley Motors today welcomes a return to production following an extended winter shutdown and a comprehensive review and extension of the luxury marque’s stringent COVID-19 health and safety measures. In parallel, Bentley’s critical role providing support to the local community continues with colleagues requested to help with the vaccine deployment within Cheshire and local care programmes plus the donation of laptops to schools.
To enable a safe return for its 1,800 manufacturing workforce, Bentley has increased its rapid antigen testing programme four-fold to ensure all colleagues returning to site are tested and COVID-safe before full production resumes.
This means administering 1,800 tests within a two day period, taking the total number of antigen tests provided by Bentley to nearly 15,000 since May last year. Just 272 mostly asymptomatic colleagues have returned positive COVID-19 tests in that time, approximately 5 per cent, with those affected then undertaking full self-isolation periods, regularly checked upon by Bentley’s Occupational Health team. As a mark of the success of Bentley’s testing programme, there have been no proven cases of on-site transmission yet recorded.
But to be sure its Crewe site is a safe as it can be, Bentley sought external validation at the beginning of this year from Imperial College London and also independent occupational health specialists, Optima Health. They confirmed that Bentley’s 250 comprehensive and wide-ranging hygiene and social distancing measures introduced last year will remain in order to maximise the safety of production colleagues. This includes compulsory facemasks on site, enhanced cleaning routines and one-way movement and traffic flows throughout.
Furthermore, a new site risk assessment app for all colleagues, designed, developed and deployed by Bentley’s own digital team, has been launched. This encourages extra vigilance especially in light of new COVID variants, details the thorough safety measures, including home self-assessment before the working day starts, and acts as a two-way dialogue between colleagues and health and safety representatives to heighten wellbeing around site.
Commenting on the extra precautions Bentley is taking, Dr. Astrid Fontaine, Member of the Board for People, Digitalisation and IT, Bentley Motors, said:
“As we begin a new year under challenging circumstances, we remain committed to not only maintaining our strong lines of defence, but reinforcing them. The health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues, their families and our communities will always be our number one priority and the measures that we have put in place will protect us in the short-term, while also building a secure basis for our future exciting strategic ambitions and growth, in 2021 and beyond.”
Where on-site working is non-essential, colleagues will continue remote working which includes the majority of Bentley’s 4,000-strong workforce, approximately 60 per cent. This helps control the workforce density on site throughout the day and minimises the risk of exposure to colleagues.
Bentley is also taking steps to help alleviate - where possible - childcare and home-schooling challenges that follow the recent closure of schools in the UK and the wider impact of lockdown on personal wellbeing. For parents, this includes additional flexibility around working patterns and the offer of additional laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots to support home-schooling where needed. A strong emphasis on wellbeing and care for all colleagues impacted continues.
Turning focus towards the wider community, Bentley’s crisis support efforts continue and widen. In addition to making at least 30 laptops available to local schools for those families in need of support with home education, the company is again encouraging colleagues to volunteer in the local community. Bentley products and support vehicles will be made available to deliver essential items in the community including food and medication to those in need through the ‘Meals on 22 inch wheels’ service.
With the high level of demand for volunteers around the country to support with the vaccination programme, and Bentley becoming partners to a number of support initiatives, the company is also encouraging colleagues to take part and volunteer to help at this critical time.
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Notes to editors
Bentley Motors is the most sought-after luxury car brand in the world. The company’s headquarters in Crewe is home to all of its operations including design, R&D, engineering and production of the company’s three model lines, Bentayga, Continental and Flying Spur. The combination of fine craftsmanship, using skills that have been handed down through generations, alongside engineering expertise and cutting-edge technology is unique to UK luxury car brands such as Bentley. It is also an example of high-value British manufacturing at its best. Bentley employs around 4,000 people at Crewe.