RV workers worry about safety in manufacturing plants

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Since Indiana began to reopen, a lot of focus is on the surge in COVID-19 cases in Elkhart.​​ Elkhart has also been the source of many complaints from those working in the RV industry recently who feel unsafe in their workplace.​​

The problem is so concerning, that RV manufacturers say they may have to close plants again, even with the rise in demand for new RVs by consumers.

“It’s elbow to elbow depending on what your job is and where you are at on the line. I know that there is time where I’m sharing a 10 ft. x 25 ft. box with nine people,” an anonymous Elkhart RV employee told WNDU-TV.

Elkhart, one of the Indiana’s leading coronavirus hotspots, is also home to the RV capital of the world and over the last couple of months, that world has been turned upside down as many RV employees have said they have struggled to find their safe spot during the pandemic.​​
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“There is no concern with how we are spreading this or what we are doing as far as the employees go. They really just care about numbers and getting the units out that they promised in contract that they would be able to produce,” the anonymous employee says.

The idea of many returning to work and COVID-19 spreading throughout the workplace unknowingly has also been a major concern for many employees, one that some say is being kept secret among upper management to keep production going and protect the company’s bottom line.

Just this past week, as the state enters Stage 4 of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s reopening plan Friday, RV Business reports that Elkhart leaders are warning they might need to shut down again rather than ramp up. Officials are pleading with local businesses to enforce safety measures and are making plans to find housing so infected residents in large households can self-isolate from their families to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus.

“Discussion have begun about possibly opening up some dorm rooms or the fairgrounds to separate infected family members from crowded households,” County Health Department Spokeswoman Melanie Sizemore said. “We are seeing rapid community spread.”

Of paramount concern in the “RV manufacturing capital of the world” is a potentially dangerous intersection of risks: dozens of factories and two working populations that are considered high risk for a variety of reasons, Hispanics and the Amish.

“They work in essential occupations and factories in close proximity to others,” where infections risk is elevated, said Richard Aguirre, a community impact coordinator at Goshen College. “And then they go home.”

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Kenneth Fuller
4 months ago

Mental health issues are now a much greater risk to individuals who have had no paychecks for months than the Corona virus. If you receive any type of income, try stopping it immediately and pay your mortgage, and any other living expenses for at least three months and see how you feel.

Kenneth Fuller
4 months ago
Reply to  Kenneth Fuller

In conclusion, we can’t afford to close down businesses any longer.

Crowman
4 months ago

You need to start calling this virus by its real name The CCP virus since it was caused by the China Communist Party and give them ALL the credit.

KellyR
4 months ago
Reply to  Crowman

What I don’t get is that we are getting our masks and gloves from China. It says so right on the box!!! They could kill us all in a week. They tried with lead paint on kids toys. We need to bring industries home.

Jesse Crouse
4 months ago

I was recently in the hospital twice in 3 years for operations. While in I noticed there are only single patient rooms. When I asked about this I was told by staff that when they went to single patient rooms the infection rates dropped by as much as 50 %. It’s all about ” INFECTION CONTROL” . I guess social distancing does work in most situations. Some people should take notice.

KellyR
4 months ago
Reply to  Jesse Crouse

It drives me nuts when I see the hospital commercials on TV now, stating that they are doing EXTRA cleaning to keep infections down. I would have hoped that hospitals of all places were doing EXTRA cleaning all along.

Brad
4 months ago

Oh please. The risk from the virus has been ultra-hyped and exaggerated for political purposes. We have the data now. The so called experts were wrong. While the virus is real, the danger from it for most folks is far less than what we’ve been lead to believe. Just like any seasonal flu, common sense hygiene practices are all that’s needed.

Jim S.
4 months ago
Reply to  Brad

Really? So the people dying from this virus are not really dead? Just casualties of the seasonal flu? A few weeks in a hospital, on a ventilator is no fringe benefit of working too close to your fellow work buddies.

AlanB
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim S.

Jim, You are so correct! My 75 year old brother-in-law was infected with the coronavirus by a caregiver in the assisted living facility he is in. He is a very healthy man with vascular dementia. Because he is in such excellent physical health. He survived the effects of the virus. His caregivers said he was very fortunate to survive. Also, a friend of mine, a young family man. Returned to home to Michigan from a ski vacation in Vail, CO in early March. He experienced severe headaches and at one point thought he was having a heart attack. After further investigation. It turned out he had the coronavirus. Until someone close to you is effected by this virus. It’s easy to dismiss the the facts. Social distancing works!

Philip Johnson
4 months ago
Reply to  Brad

I couldn’t agree more with you. It is disgusting and disturbing to consider the ease with which the government and media scared half of the population in to a frenzy with their hyperbolic statements and dire warnings. I am sorry that these factory workers are afraid to return to their jobs, but they’re going to have to get over it. Life comes with risks whether they be in form of infectious diseases, poor lifestyle choices, or good old-fashioned accidents.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
4 months ago
Reply to  Brad

You sound like someone who has not had a friend or loved one sickened or killed by COVID-19. You’re very lucky. I’ve had three friends (all much younger than me) die from it. 🙁 —Diane at RVtravel.com

KellyR
4 months ago
Reply to  Brad

Brad, the “hype” did start to drive me nuts too, but the ease of contracting it is greater than the good ol’ flu. BUT, just maybe??, we as a ‘cowboy” nation, just maybe- will be more considerate of each other and ourselves during a “normal” flu season?? When I was in the orient, it was not at all uncommon to see people with a cold wearing a mask to protect others. Why can’t we go back several decades and be that considerate?

Claudio
4 months ago

The virus stays in the beard
Its time to shave those ugly things !
Ohh, boy that would be a great lie to get the people and media on another crazy bandwagon !

Megan Edwards
4 months ago
Reply to  Claudio

He might be Amish and is a religious reason for bread.

Cindy
4 months ago
Reply to  Claudio

Actually, studies have shown that wearing a mask with a beard makes the mask less effective! The beard holds it out from the chin/face enough to let the virus in around the mask. Maybe it IS time to shave.

KellyR
4 months ago
Reply to  Claudio

Interesting. IF the virus does stay in the beard, then we should all have one. Just wash it before we kiss our wives. I like it. No more need for masks – except for women, I guess.