Marcus Hook, PA – A leading producer of bipolymer products has positioned ‘live-in’ manufacturing teams operating in isolation at key facilities, among other measures, “to help ensure the health and safety of our team members who are working as an essential service throughout this (COVID-19) crisis to keep these key supply lines running. “
Designated as essential services by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Philly-based Braskem USA divided crews to work 12-hour shifts to continue production around the clock for polypropylene, a raw material needed to make N95 masks, medical gowns, sanitary wipes, and other protective gear.
Braskem America paid workers increased wages and provided beds, on-site kitchen areas, groceries, and iPads to use during downtime.
According to a news release, “Braskem partners require polypropylene (PP) for their manufacturing of healthcare and hygiene products that are critical right now in the fight against COVID-19, as well as countless other life-sustaining goods.”
“In response to the crisis, Braskem has shifted production line capacities to focus on the enhanced availability of the raw material for the most critical grades of homopolymers for nonwovens needed to make N-95 medical face masks and medical protective gear as well as other thermoforming grades for protective food packaging.”
Though the workers pledged not to return to their homes for nearly a month, friends and family members occasionally drove by the factory honking their horns and waving signs showing their support.
According to the release, “Braskem is recognizing and supporting these team members with enhanced employee compensation, onsite kitchens, and supplies to sustain these resiliency teams as they continue to operate the manufacturing facilities in isolation.”
“Additionally, Braskem has deployed stringent facility cleaning protocols, social distancing practices, restrictions on plant visitation, and where appropriate implemented fully remote working environments. “
Pennsylvania has recorded at least 37,053 confirmed coronaviruses cases, with at least 1,394 deaths by noon Thursday, according to the state department of health.