Open letter of Joerg Hoffmann, General Manager of Regional Affairs for Europe, to the MinebeaMitsumi and U-Shin employees all over Europe
Dear fellow employees of MinebeaMitsumi Europe and Ushin Europe
“Let’s make our workplace one of the safest places to be”
Currently all of us are experiencing a situation that none of us has ever experienced before. An invisible enemy that seemed to be far away in China still a couple of weeks ago entered into our life mercilessly almost overnight. Ten thousands of people are infected and thousands died already in all regions of Europe and many more will follow. It’s a time of fear and uncertainty that is challenging all of us concerning our patience and ability to fight against this invisible enemy in an alerted but the same time calm manner.
The enemy is invisible but not almighty, in fact COVID-19 is a strong virus but the same time there are practical ways to keep it away from us. Unlike other viruses COVID-19 is not transferred airborne or through our drinking water but only through oral and droplet infection which makes it possible to protect ourselves as long as we are careful and follow certain rules strictly and with exceptional discipline as a team but mainly also as individuals.
Before going into the measures to be taken to protect us, let me borrow the excellent explanation of Mr. Koshikawa, General Manager of Regional Affairs of China, concerning the different infection routes and what can be done to interrupt them.
There are two main infection routes of this coronavirus infection. First is the droplet infection. This is a route in which droplets are scattered due to conversation, coughing, sneezing, etc., and the virus is infected by inhaling the droplets. Second is the oral infection. This is an infection path in which the virus on the infected person’s hands are transferred to desks, handrails, door handles, etc., and other people touch these places with their hands, then putting the virus into mouth, nose, or the eyes when rubbing them. Therefore, if you understand these two infection routes, you do not have to be extremely afraid of infection. Understanding these well and taking countermeasures will secure your safety and it will also lead to the safe continuation of our operations.
(1) Droplet Infection
As mentioned earlier, the spread of droplets during conversation will cause the infection. So, we prohibit conversations with loud voice. It is important that you wear a mask and do not let your own droplets fly and do not breathe in other people’s droplets. But in the first place, if you do not splash your droplets, others will not be able to inhale, so we think it is better to speak with as little voice as possible. For the time being, we will prohibit having unnecessary conversations, especially while traveling by bus, in cafeterias, during the breaks, in changing rooms, and other places where people gather. This measure also applies when you commute, so please bear this in your mind when you leave or come to work with your colleagues.
In principle, we prohibit people with high temperature, persistently coughing/sneezing to come to work as it may transmit the virus to others even you are not intending to do so. Coughing and sneezing in our facilities and buildings are prohibited. Please go outside and look for a place where no one is around.
The company will distribute masks to reduce the risk of droplet infection. Currently, it is extremely difficult to get masks as the market stock sharply declined, however, we are working hard to get the necessary masks using all procurement routes. We believe that wearing a mask…will significantly reduce the risk of droplet infection, but as mentioned earlier, the most important thing is not to talk loudly. Also, we think that it is effective to use your hand gesture, for example, to give a thumbs-up when “OK”. So we hope everyone will come up with some ideas.
(2) Oral Infection
First of all, hand washing / disinfection is the most important. Please wash and disinfect your hands every time you enter the factory, take a break and lunch and always keep your hands clean. Wearing the masks mentioned earlier can help prevent the virus on hands from accidentally enter to your mouth or nose but this hand washing / disinfection measure is crucial and must be taken immediately.
The result of this? There is one very relevant fact. These instructions have been followed carefully by all employees in our China and Japan factories. We have over 15 thousand employees in China and 9 thousand in Japan – and there is not one single recorded case of COVID-19 among them.
Isn’t this an outstanding success achieved by the discipline and passion of our fellow colleagues in China? We are in the lucky position to be able to learn from them as we are a few weeks behind from China in this pandemic.
We can do this as well by joint efforts and the willingness and discipline of every single one of you!
We trust peoples’ common sense, but such reminders are appropriate in the current climate. Please keep a sensible distance from one another of at least 2m, wash your hands thoroughly with soap for at least 20 seconds several times during the day and use disinfectant to clean your hands additionally whenever available. Don’t speak loudly and avoid touching your face, especially eyes, mouth and nose by all means.
These are things that everyone should do anyway; no matter if being at work or home, however, as a key to our initiative to “make our workplace one of the safest places to be” our Group companies all over Europe, with the strong cooperation of the COVID-19 Countermeasure HQ in Japan and under the guidance of the European COVID-19 Countermeasure HQ and the local teams and Managements, have implemented several measures such as:
- Preparing Hand Disinfection stations at the entrances and throughout the sites
- Checking the temperature of all employees prior to entering the sites
- Providing masks to all employees to be worn during meetings, while walking through the company as well as during all kind of communication with others
- Carrying out trainings concerning general hygiene as well as regardful behaviour
- Cancelation of business trips and outside visits as well as banning all visitors from our campuses
- Promotion of home office work where ever possible
- Wider separation of people in the offices
- Various other measures that might vary among the sites that your Site Manager is happy to inform to you
- The EU Countermeasure HQ is in continuous contact with the Site General Managers and local Counter Measure Teams to update the situation as well as to review the measures taken to always add or adapt rules based on latest information and findings.
Please also remember that beyond everything the company is doing, if you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, such as high temperature and / or a persistent cough, you are expected to self-isolate at home. The individual knows his or her own body best – and we all have a personal and serious responsibility here to our colleagues as well as to our families and yourself.
In working together and keeping these basic guidelines at the front of our minds, we should have no reason to be afraid of COVID-19 in the shelter of our homes as well as in the shelter of our companies.
Thanks for the help and support of every one of you to “make our workplace one of the safest places to be”.
Please take good care of yourself and your families and STAY HEALTHY.