Factory team clocks out after 28 days of live-in work making coronavirus protective material

MARCUS HOOK, Pa. (WPVI/CNN) - After nearly a month of 12-hour shifts making equipment for healthcare workers, more than 40 employees in Pennsylvania were finally able to go home.

More than 40 workers at Braskem America in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, unanimously decided in March to leave their families and agreed to eat, sleep and live at the facility where they make equipment for healthcare workers.

For 28 days straight, the team worked 12-hour shifts in two groups, making polypropylene, the raw materials used to produce a non-woven fiber used to make N95 masks, hospital gowns and sanitary wipes.

TV and the occasional drive-by visit from family members were their only contact with the outside world.

More than 40 workers at Braskem America in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, worked for 28 days straight, making polypropylene, the raw materials used to produce a non-woven fiber used to make N95 masks, hospital gowns and sanitary wipes.
More than 40 workers at Braskem America in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, worked for 28 days straight, making polypropylene, the raw materials used to produce a non-woven fiber used to make N95 masks, hospital gowns and sanitary wipes. (Source: WPVI/Joe Boyce/CNN)

But on Sunday, the team was finally able to clock out.

"There's been a glow in everyone's eyes," said operations shift supervisor, Joe Boyce. "We're truly honored to be able to give back and support people we will never meet in some way."

To a degree, the moment was bittersweet, Boyce says, as the team is realizing the world around them has changed significantly in the past month.

"We've almost been the lucky ones, 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," he said.

But it's a small price to pay, knowing the work they've all put forth is making a difference in the battle against COVID-19.

“All the first responders, all the people on the frontlines, we thank you for what you’ve done. That’s what makes our job easy to do,” Boyce said.

Copyright 2020 WPVI, Joe Boyce via CNN. All rights reserved.