PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – The onset of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the virus’ ability to quickly spread presented many challenges to preserve a safe working environment at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF). Several shipyard codes’ primary services require face-to-face customer service to support the workforce. To ensure these Codes could maximize the mission while still protecting people and minimizing the spread of the virus, the COVID-19 Tiger Team worked with skilled employees on-site and Naval Facilities Hawaii (NAVFAC HI) to fabricate protective barriers quickly keeping PHNSY & IMF open for business.
Shipyard leadership empowered the Tiger Team to respond to the many challenges of protecting the workforce and minimizing the spread of the virus to ensure the shipyard could maximize its mission even through the pandemic.
Several codes such the Pass and ID office and the Document Control office conducted daily interactions with shipyard workers, contractors, military personnel, and visitors creating a higher risk for potential virus spread. To mitigate this potential risk of spread through of close interaction with others, the codes requests support from Tiger Team.
Working with safety experts and fabrication employees, the Tiger Team determined plexiglass would provide the best protection while maintaining customer experience - both critical needs with to protect the personnel continuing to work in these essential positions throughout the shipyard.
Specific measurements of the designated areas where plexiglass would be installed were taken from each customer service location to develop a custom install specific to each code’s needs. The measurements were then taken to NAVFAC HI who assisted in manufacturing the custom designs. The customization was initially expected to take more than a week to complete, but NAVFAC and the Tiger Team expedited manufacturing and installation. This resulted in a custom installed solution for each code in only one to three days.
Shipyard personnel working in the Pass and ID office were thrilled with the solution developed. Security Assistant Walter Fung commented on the impressive work done by the team, stating, “I feel more comfortable with the plexiglass installed. It’s a relief of stress.” Not only did this protective measure reassure safety from bodily fluids from customers or the personnel assisting such coughing or sneezing, it also prevents customers from leaning over the counter and potentially seeing personal identifiable information (PII).
The Document Control Center team was also excited about the new custom barriers. File and Mail Clerk Talalelei Toomata said, “They were quick! The customers like it! It’s fantastic – I love it!”
These new custom protective barriers not only made shipyard customer service personnel feel safer – the barriers also protect customers from any potential exposure making interactions between both parties safer allowing everyone to practice the shipyard’s COVID-19 priorities of protecting people, minimizing the spread of the virus, and maximizing the mission even during face-to-face interactions.
For more news from Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & IMF, visit navsea.navy.mil/Home/Shipyards/PHNS-IMF or facebook.com/PearlHarborNavalShipyard.