Bath Iron Works said it is expanding safeguards by increasing the number of crews focused on disinfecting and cleaning all work areas amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The shipyard said this is an “effort to continue to prioritize the health and safety of employees as the shipyard continues to fulfill its obligations as a part of the country’s ‘critical infrastructure’ network.”
Beginning Monday, the shipyard said additional subcontractors will focus on more frequent disinfecting of workspaces and basic housekeeping.
The company said it is encouraging employees to take full use of the range of benefits and options, including paid vacation and sick time, to pursue what they believe are best for themselves and their families.
“About half of the production workforce has availed themselves of the company’s time-off policies during this time,” the shipyard said in a statement.
The shipyard’s owner, General Dynamics, revealed last week that an employee had tested positive for the coronavirus, but said that individual was on the main yard on March 13.
“To those affected directly by COVID-19, our hearts go out to you. For our colleagues who are faithfully continuing to serve day-in and day-out, thank you for the work you do that is so essential to our nation’s security,” Dirk Lesko, the president of Bath Iron Works, said in a statement, referring to the illness caused by the coronavirus. “We are very proud of BIW employees’ commitments and their dedication.”
The largest unions at the shipyard have been calling for it to close. However, Bath Iron Works said it would remain open for business during the outbreak.
Only 41 percent of Bath Iron Works’ employees clocked in for their shift last Tuesday after the coronavirus case involving a shipyard worker became public.