Boeing looks to restart production in three states with safety protocols in place

Boeing cautiously opening some facilities
Boeing cautiously opening some facilities 02:21

Signs were hung at a Boeing plant in Washington state to welcome back some of its 27,000 employees as the aerospace giant looks to resume production at facilities there and in Ohio and Pennsylvania after they were forced to shut due to the coronavirus. Boing officials told "CBS This Morning" that the health and safety of employees and their families is their priority, and their precautionary measures are based on federal and state guidance.

"I am glad that the Boeing company is committing to very robust social distancing protocols and use of PPE," Washington Governor Jay Inslee said, according to CBS News' Kris Van Cleave. 

Some of the other protocols in place include temperature checks, enhanced cleaning procedures and staggered shifts to reduce crowding when people arrive and leave. The company will also be issuing masks for workers who must be close together.

Boeing said it would be using contact tracing should an employee come down with COVID-19.

"It's pretty clear that people are going to be looking at Boeing and seeing what the results are," aircraft industry analyst Richard Aboulafia said. "This is one of the many steps needed on the road back to, well, getting people working again."

Still, some say they are wondering if Boeing is rushing into a premature open.

"Are we jumping the gun on this?" a Boeing 777 aircraft mechanic wondered. 

He said some of his fellow employees have been concerned.

"Most of them are apprehensive thinking it's too soon, and they're worried, to be honest with you, they're very worried," he said. 

Fellow manufacturing giants General Motors and Ford are also working to get employees back into their facilities, with proper safety measures in place. 

General Motors saw employees volunteer to come back and work on building ventilators, requiring new procedures that, if successful, could be valuable lessons learned when it is time to restart car production. 

"Safety is our overriding priority, so we are following very strict protocols as it relates to temperature screening, wearing masks," GM CEO Mary Barra said. "There's cleaning protocols from the start of shift to the end of shift."

Ford also has hundreds of employees back in factories, building ventilators, respirators and 3-D printing face shields. 

Adrian Price, Ford's manufacturing head, said they have "pre-screening in place" along with "physical separation for the employees."

"We're making our own face shields," Price stated, "So we'll be using that."

Automakers are hoping to draw on the experience of keeping employees safe while reopening their facilities in China as they resume operations.