When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in March of 2020, Kawasaki executive Jim Townsend saw the effects of COVID-19 and the stress on their international supply chain early on. He decided to take higher-level action and made the tough decision to shut down operations to protect employees. They set out to make a plan, and find a way to get back to business safely.
Kawasaki Manufacturing Motors, an international company with a factory located on the west end of Lincoln, NE, employs 2500 people in our local community. They are integral in the manufacturing of parts for motorcycles, airplanes, trains, and other quality motor parts. They are a global technology leader with diverse integrated strengths, including creating a better environment and a brighter future for generations to come. Jim Townsend is a member of the management team and focuses on the occupational health and safety of all Kawasaki employees in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Partnership with Lincoln-Lancaster Health Department
It was important to Jim, as well as the entire Kawasaki Management team, that employees were not only made to feel considered and safe, but that they were in fact as safe as possible given the situation. Once there was consistent COVID-19 information, Townsend and his team were able to develop and share their plan to get their employees back to work. The Lincoln-Lancaster Health Department worked with Kawasaki to ensure they were in compliance with directive health measures and that they would have a consistent, science-based message to share with their employees and the community. After suggestions from the Health Department were made, Kawasaki safely started the transitioning process of getting their employees back to work in May.
Safely Transitioning Back to Work
Using their safety plan to reopen, Kawasaki is proud to say they have a .04% COVID-19 contraction rate within their Lincoln factory, beating the national norms. In spite of being in an enclosed space with assembly lines and lots of people, they have been able to attain these numbers through their diligence and commitment to:
- Require masks for all
- Disinfect working areas often
- Ensure social-distancing in work areas
- Manage employee illness and exclusion protocol
Kawasaki rethought how to do business in the midst of a crisis and as a result they have been pivotal in leading the way back to business in Lincoln.
Recommit to Re/Cover our Community
Townsend’s overall message is that we can recover the Lincoln economy if we do it together as a community. He says it’s time to rebuild and recommit by masking up, staying socially distanced, and making decisions that will keep you and the people around you safe and healthy.
As part of their mission and their COVID-19 story, Kawasaki is always thinking about the bigger picture, and as a community everyone else can too.
You can register your business, like Kawasaki, by pledging to be a business that is committed to safely recovering our Lincoln economy and community. Or you can access the business directory which lists businesses who have pledged to recover Lincoln together by following directive health measures.