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Covid-19 test center off to a successful start

Endress+Hauser employees in Maulburg, Germany can have themselves tested once a week

Endress+Hauser has set up a test center in Maulburg, Germany where employees can voluntarily have themselves tested for the coronavirus once a week. The service is intended for all employees who are not working from home, particularly those in production. The test center began operation directly after the Easter holidays. The company is spending 200,000 euros through September for the extra level of safety.

“As a large employer in the region, we want to make a contribution in order to contain the pandemic and allow the restrictions to be lifted as soon as possible,” says Peter Selders, managing director at Endress+Hauser Level+Pressure. The company implemented comprehensive protection measures at the very beginning of the pandemic. According to Peter Selders, these measures ensured that Covid-19 was largely kept out of the company.

It was impossible to prevent employees from contracting the virus outside the company. “But so far, we have always been able to directly interrupt chains of infection brought in from the private sphere and ensure that Covid-19 does not spread in the workplace,” reports Peter Selders.

The rapid tests are an additional building block in the fight against the pandemic, especially for employees’ private lives. “We are living up to our social responsibility even without a legal obligation to test,” emphasizes the managing director. What’s now important is that as many employees as possible have themselves regularly tested.

A thousand tests per week as a target

Endress+Hauser employs 1,800 people in the Maulburg production center. Between 700 and 800 have been working from home almost continuously since the beginning of the pandemic. Those who work in the plant will now be offered an on-site rapid test once a week.

The company is investing 200,000 euros in the test program, which will initially run through September. The goal is to carry out the tests in two-minute cycles, reaching at least 1,000 tests per week. The center has 3,000 test kits on hand and is expecting another 9,000.

First thoughts about establishing a test center began in mid-March, and the operation kicked off right after Easter. A team of four took care of the project. One floor of a building was set up so that many people can be tested safely in a short time. The tests are being carried out with the support and under supervision of the regional section of the Malteser Hilfsdienst relief agency. “We want to support our employees with the testing,” says Volker Frey, member of the project team.

Proprietary digital tool developed

Employees perform the test themselves. The trained personnel provide instructions and tips. Apart from the certified and approved rapid tests, Endress+Hauser had to procure extensive protective material for the testers. The Malteser Hilfsdienst helpers and Endress+Hauser first aiders were trained by the Malteser Hilfsdienst and the company doctor. A digital tool was developed for booking appointments and managing the test procedures.

“The appointment registration for a test is really simple and the actual test is very well organized,” says Andreas Schulz, a production employee who recently had his first test. He plans on testing himself on a regular basis. “That way I protect others, give myself a sense of safety and help the company to keep the operation running smoothly.”

Employees value the additional safety

Christian Haage, who works in process management, also sees the service as a welcome addition. “With these tests, Endress+Hauser has taken the protective measures up another notch.” The following day he wants to participate in one of the now rare in-person workshops that will be held under stringent social distancing and hygiene rules. “My coworkers and I decided to have ourselves tested prior to the workshop,” he adds. He can now easily and quickly take care of the test on-site.

Employees receive the test result by email within 30 minutes. To date, in addition to negative results, there have only been a few unclear results, meaning that tests had to be repeated. In case of a positive result, the employee has to take a PCR test outside the company and be quarantined in the meantime. “Suspected cases are reported to the public health office. If the PCR test also comes back positive, the person has to isolate for 14 days,” explains Volker Frey.

Protective measures at Endress+Hauser

In the Maulburg production center – as at all the Group’s sites – Endress+Hauser has expended considerable effort and invested significant sums over the past months to protect employees against the novel coronavirus and to prevent it from spreading further. Stringent social distancing and hygiene rules are in effect across the whole Group and adherence is strictly monitored. Employees are provided with face masks at no cost.

Numerous disinfectant dispensers have been installed at entrances and in hallways. The protection concepts also include structural measures such as protective screens in offices and the canteen, as well as organizational adaptations such as a stark reduction in the number of employees working on-site. “We are thus making the workplace at Endress+Hauser a safe place,” underscores managing director Peter Selders.