Employees Who Lived at Plant for 28 Days to Help Build PPE Just Got to Go Home

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By Elle Meyers

April 21, 2020

Workers at a manufacturing plant in Delaware County volunteered to be away from their families for nearly a month to help produce the raw material needed to make personal protective equipment.

For the first time in nearly a month, a few dozen workers at the Braskem America plant outside of Philadelphia finally clocked out and went home to their families, according to WPVI-TV. 

Employees at the Marcus Hook manufacturing plant participated in a marathon effort to help make the materials necessary for desperately needed personal protective equipment for medical and other frontline workers. More than 40 employees volunteered their time to spend 28 days working 12-hour shifts to make polypropylene, which is a raw material needed to manufacture N95 masks, hospital gowns, and sanitary wipes. 

In a news release, Braskem America said they set up the live-in rotation to “help ensure the health and safety of our team members who are working as an essential service throughout this crisis to keep these key supply lines running.”

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Although the workers were isolated from their families, loved ones occasionally drove by to wave signs of encouragement and honk their horns in support, WPVI reports. In return for the long shifts, Braskem America increased workers’ pay, and provided beds, kitchens, groceries, Internet access, and iPads.

Workers at the company’s plants in Texas and West Virginia also volunteered to work the live-in rotations. 

“We’re truly honored to be able to give back and support people we will never meet in some way,” operations shift supervisor Joe Boyce told WPVI. “All the first responders, all the people on the front lines, we thank you. That’s what makes our job easy to do.” 

Before returning to their regular shifts, the volunteers will get a week off. 

“We’ve almost been the lucky ones,” Boyce added, referring to their isolation from the outside world, “I’ll say for the last 28 days because I haven’t had to stand six feet from somebody. I haven’t had to put a mask on.”


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