A strict safety protocol has been introduced for employees working in partnership with Careggi hospital in Florence.
The Prada Group has recommenced operations in Tuscany, recalling around 300 employees to work in the leather goods, apparel and footwear departments at its Arezzo premises. In doing so, the house has taken necessary precautions, putting their workforce first and setting a roadmap for other houses to follow.
The reopening, which was communicated to the local authorities in advance, involves the prototyping and sample-making departments essential for developing the company’s forthcoming collections.
The factories in Umbria, Marche and Veneto partially will reopen next, followed lastly by the collection and sample-making workshops in the Milan headquarters. This return to work coincided with the implementation of a full range of measures to protect against infection from Covid-19, with meticulous precautions taken to safeguard employees’ health.
As set out in the internal safety protocol signed by the company, employee health and safety representatives, the medical coordinator and the Health and Safety service, the measures involve reduced hours, or hours split up over multiple shifts, to ensure staggered access to the sites and the correct distancing of approximately six feet between workstations.
Every day, on arrival, employees have their temperature taken and are provided with personal protective equipment (gloves and masks) to wear for the full duration of their shift. The company places bottles of sanitizing gel near all workstations and sanitizes the rooms twice daily. As a precautionary measure, the canteen will not operate for the first few weeks after reopening.
In addition, the Prada Group is the first Italian company to introduce a cutting-edge safety protocol that involves the double screening of employees, in a collaboration already agreed with Careggi hospital in Florence.
The Prada Group will apply this procedure at the Tuscan sites that are currently operational and will later be extend them to all premises in the other Italian regions.
From Tuesday, April 28, a team of specialist nurses in dedicated rooms have carried out serological testing on all employees, and those who test positive also receive a viral test, conducted on the premises. The company’s entire workforce will receive serological testing every month, with no end date currently set for the screening program.
The cost of this demanding diagnostic operation will be borne in full by the company. In this initial phase, there will be an estimated 1,000 tests per week, a figure which will significantly rise once production is back to full capacity. If any employees test positive, the company will also extend the double screening process to their family members.
The possibility of employees voluntarily requesting more frequent viral tests is currently being investigated.
Moreover, commercial agreements have been signed with Menarini Diagnostics to supply the testing kits for the serological test, and with a world-leading company in the molecular diagnostics sector to supply reagent testing kits to hospitals. With the aim of not depleting the public health system’s stocks, these materials will be bought directly from the above-mentioned suppliers.
“In this emergency situation, we have not only been considering when to reopen our manufacturing facilities but above all how to reopen them in total security, in order to safeguard our employees’ health and protect them from the virus. We therefore immediately sought advice from leading healthcare facilities and from specialist pharmaceutical companies to identify the top-rated medical technology currently available to safeguard the health of our employees with these virus-screening procedures and to contain the virus. The introduction of these measures means we can now confidently restart production in Tuscany and look forward to extending the above protocols to our plants and offices in other regions when they reopen.”
– Patrizio Bertelli, Prada Group’s CEO