BY MICHELLE AVILA
Based in Hanover, N.H., industrial waterjet, laser, and plasma cutting systems developer Hypertherm has made quite a few operational changes since the state’s first coronavirus case – a man who’d recently traveled to Italy – was confirmed on March 2, 2020.
We’ve been following recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, which include personal hygiene, surface hygiene, increased professional cleaning, the avoidance of business travel, and the addition of paid emergency leave so associates don’t feel pressured to come into work if they feel unwell.
Social distancing practices, as recommended by the CDC and WHO, have been in place since mid-March. These include asking associates to maintain 6 feet of space between themselves and others. The company removed extra tables and chairs from common areas to remind employees of the 6-foot buffer, re-engineered manufacturing stations and assembly areas, added tape to floors, etc.
All associates in remote-capable roles have also been working from home since mid-March, dramatically decreasing the movement of the company’s employees among the community. Of the 1,200 associates working in New Hampshire, approximately 500 now work exclusively from home. Associates who come into the company’s facilities (only those in on-site critical roles) undergo a wellness check when they arrive.
New Hampshire-based Hypertherm usually assembles printed circuit boards, choppers, cables, and controls for the Powermax and X-Definition plasma systems here. Now, most days, five to seven safely distanced associates make protective shields for medical and emergency professionals in this area of the shop. As of April 27, the company had given more than 6,700 masks to local hospitals and fire departments with plans to provide many more.
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