Employees lived at their work for 28 days to help make protective gear for health care workers

N95 protective masks (Getty/dontree_m)
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PHILADELPHIA (TEGNA) — More than 40 employees who spent almost a month working and living in a manufacturing facility to create supplies needed for protective gear for health care workers finally went home this week, according to WPVI in Philadelphia.

The employees volunteered to live on site for 28 days at the Braskem plant in Marcus Hook, near Philadelphia, to make polypropylene, a raw material used to make N95 masks, protective medical gowns and other gear.

The company said in a news release that it positioned 'live-in' manufacturing teams operating in isolation at key facilities to make sure it could ensure the safety of team members and keep the supply chain going.

WPVI reported that two teams worked 12-hour shifts at the manufacturing plant near Philadelphia. Before going back to their normal workweek, the employees will have a full week off.

The only outside contact the workers had during their 28 days of isolation was seeing their family members drive by to show their support when they reached the halfway mark, WPVI reported.

"We have 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 crisis to keep these key supply lines running," Mark Nikolich, Braskem America CEO said in a press release last week. "On behalf of the entire Braskem team, I want offer our gratitude to all the first responders and essential employees working every day across industries for coming together to help protect and serve our communities."

Braskem's facilities are considered essential services by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The company said those who volunteered received a pay increase, onsite kitchens and other supplies to continue working in isolation.