ANDERSON — On Thursday morning at the Keter plant in Anderson, Santa Ana Evangelista worked diligently to assemble face shields to be donated to front-line health care workers.
Keter North America Inc., a global manufacturer of outdoor furniture and plastic storage products, recently announced it has begun production of reusable face shields at its plants in Anderson, Indiana, and Milton, Ontario, Canada.
“We recognized that we needed to help people,” said Mike Goodman, plant manager of Keter’s Anderson plant at 6435 S. Scatterfield Road. “We were trying to buy all this PPE and it was not readily available.”
A key driver behind the company’s decision to shift focus to the production of face shields was the goal of keeping plant employees safe, as well as addressing concerns for the well-being of front-line health care workers.
The company’s medical product division, AP Medical, led a companywide effort to develop a durable face shield that protects the entire face.
“We started the face shield design in Israel and Italy,” Goodman said. “We had them send us the design. We made some modifications to that design and were able to shift production over to the face shield.”
The resulting design protects the whole face and eyes, preventing caregivers from touching their faces. The face shield is also reusable, producing less waste than disposable shields and easing strain on long-term care facility supply chains.
Goodman said what is unique about the mask design is that it is lightweight, balanced and can be assembled in less than a minute.
“A dentist we gave some to said it was the best mask on the market,” Goodman said. “And we’re not even selling them. We’re giving them away.”
Lois Miller, human resources manager at the Anderson plant, said she has been reaching out to all long-term care facilities and senior living facilities in the county.
The face shields will be donated to hundreds of long-term care facilities, hospitals and fire stations across United States and Ontario to help address the urgent need for PPE to protect front-line workers who care for patients, especially seniors.
“It has never been more important to support our local communities and the frontline workers who are sacrificing so much to protect patients in their care,” David Foster, vice president of marketing, said in a press release. “Our management team wants to thank our employees for their compassion for care providers and their exceptional work in retooling our production lines in such a compressed time frame. Our people have worked relentlessly to make this happen.”