More than two dozen cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in employees at Bridgestone Americas’ Passenger/Light Truck Tire Plant in Graniteville.
The company reported that, as of Friday, 31 workers had tested positive for COVID-19.
“The employees currently testing positive are in isolation at home,” according to a statement from Bridgestone Americas. “Some have been cleared and returned to work. We remain in contact with these employees and all of our employees to provide clear direction and ensure their safety regarding this matter.
“We were prepared for this and are following our rapid response plans developed through our Enterprise Crisis Management Team,” the statement continued. “This team has been monitoring the spread of the coronavirus and consulting federal, state and local officials, as well as health organizations to coordinate risk mitigation and business continuity strategies.”
Bridgestone further reported that a deep clean had been performed in the area of the plant where the employees who tested positive for the coronavirus were working.
The area also was disinfected.
“We have contacted all employees who may have had contact with the affected employees, as defined by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),” the statement said. “Those who have will be directed to self-quarantine and to contact their health care provider. We continue to monitor the situation closely and will adjust our response plan and activities, as necessary, in order to ensure the well-being and safety of our employees and contractors.”
The safety measures that are in place at all active Bridgestone manufacturing locations in North America, according to the company, include enhanced cleaning measures, ongoing education about COVID-19, and changes to the sick leave and absenteeism policy that encourages employees to stay home when they are ill.
Job spaces and common areas have been redesigned to limit closeness, and infectious disease screening is being conducted on all employees, contractors and visitors to facilities.
Bridgestone also has implemented a “return to work screening” effort. Its purpose is to ensure that employees with coronavirus symptoms or who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are quarantined before being allowed to resume work.
“Our most important priority is to ensure the well-being and safety of our employees and the integrity of our operations,” the Bridgestone statement said. “We are continuing to monitor advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and local governments, as well as government regulations in countries where our employees work and travel, to update our global response plans.”
Dede Biles is the Aiken County government, business and horse industry reporter for the Aiken Standard. For more access to these types of articles subscribe at my special rate. Click here