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NEWS | June 12, 2020

It Takes a Village: PHNSY & IMF Responds to COVID-19

By Justice Vannatta, PHNSY & IMF Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility’s (PHNSY & IMF) workforce quickly innovated solutions to stop the spread of COVID-19 at the shipyard. A collective effort by many, faceless heroes worked diligently to protect the workforce from COVID-19. When the directive to wear cloth face coverings was released, the command decided to manufacture face coverings for the workforce. Multiple shipyard shops immediately answered the call. Fabric Workers (Shop 64A), Insulators (Shop 57), and Sheet Metal Workers (Shop 17) teamed up to produce reusable face coverings. In less than a month, the manufacturing team produced an astounding 21,427 reusable face coverings for the entire workforce.

PHNSY & IMF priorities for beating Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) while keeping the fleet fit to fight are to protect the workforce, stop the spread of the virus, and to maximize our mission – in that order.

“My commitment to you is to provide three reusable, washable face coverings to each of our employees working on-site.” said Shipyard Commander, Greg Burton. The team could have halted production at 19,200 face coverings for approximately 6,400 shipyard workers. However, an additional 2,227 face coverings were produced in efforts to replace broken, lost, or worn-out face coverings. The team continues to standby to resume production quickly if more face coverings are needed.

“We wanted to help our shipyard ‘ohana by producing these reusable face coverings to keep everyone safe,” says Debbie Pablo, Shop 64A General Foreman. “We knew we had the capabilities to produce these reusable face coverings and I am so proud of all of our team members, first and second shift, in helping to get these face coverings made.”

The design of the face coverings, which first came from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, are in accordance with fabrication guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The manufacturing team’s goal was to produce 1,000 face coverings per day to ensure all employees will have at least three to use and maintain properly.

Sheet Metal Workers (Shop 17) were in charge of producing the thin metal nosepieces used in the face coverings. Once the face coverings were produced by Fabric Workers (Shop 64A) and Insulators (Shop 57), the Tool & Equipment Maintenance Team (Shop 06) laundered and dried every single face covering before distribution to ensure material cleanliness.

“We (Shop 06) wanted to make sure that we extended our services to the command to help produce these reusable face coverings,” said Jessica Ashley, Tool Room (Shop 06) Supervisor. “It was a challenging job to keep these coverings clean after its washing, but we planned and managed it well.”

Upon cleaning completion, personnel from Mechanical Group (Code 930ND), Control Water Processing Plant (Code 308), Special Projects (Code 361) and Piping, Insulation, Tool Room & Equipment Maintenance Shop (Code 960), assisted in assembling kits and distributing the reusable face coverings to departments and codes. The distribution was prioritized to those who work shipboard, then to workers who were deemed high risk. Thereafter, the team distributed face coverings to workers who are primary care givers. After the initial priority groups, face coverings were distributed to the remainder of the workforce.

There is an old Kenyan Swahili proverb that states, it takes a village to raise a child. In this case, it takes a shipyard to keep everyone safe.

Proud of PHNSY & IMF’s accomplishment, Shipyard Commander Greg Burton said, “Our shipyard has been working hard to minimize the spread and maximize our mission. Our workforce has proven once again that we are the No Ka ‘Oi shipyard in all that we do.”


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