Like many industries, manufacturing has suffered in ways never expected during the Covid-19 crisis. As demand outweighed supply in some areas, the healthcare sector was left without essential PPE and basics such as toilet paper, flour and pasta. In other areas demand was dramatically reduced, meaning factories had to produce less and posted revenue losses.
Regularly in the news, factories and manufacturers were revealed to be tackling huge issues caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, not only because of the stress of demand, but because of the high rate of infection within these spaces. In food manufacturing, particularly meat, the cold, damp and artificially lit conditions make it easy for the virus to survive and spread person to person and surface to surface. This has caused a large amount of workers to contract the virus and unknowingly spread it into the wider community. Equally, close working conditions in textile and goods manufacturing left factory workers with less than half a meter between them and producing items that were sometimes touched by over 40 members of staff. Major outbreaks in factories have been seen in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and the US.
On the other side of the pandemic, many workers in manufacturing still can’t return to work due to the high risk nature of factory working, and are at risk of losing their jobs while they are shielding. Companies need to produce safe working environments which is paramount to keeping staff well and protecting jobs.