NEAL, WV (WOWK) – You’ve heard of working from home. Well, how about living at work?
For the first time in nearly a month, workers here at the Braskem Neal Plant will get to go home and sleep in their own beds. They’ve been living here at the plant for 28 days, helping to outfit those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Twenty-eight days … four weeks … Or 672 hours … But who’s counting?
“We started with the term lock-in, but that didn’t sound so voluntary so we started calling it a live-in,” Nick Bocook, production superintendent, says. “So it was a 28 day live-in.”
For 28 days, Nick Bocook and 41 of his colleagues called the Neal plant home. They all volunteered to live at the facility, creating a four-week isolation, to ensure that the needs of their medical manufacturing customers were met.
“It goes into fibers and fabrics that go into making the N95 masks, the medical gowns that they are using, all the PPE that the frontline healthcare workers are using,” Bocook says.
A second location in Pennsylvania carried out the same operation. Bocook says they were well taken care of, rotating on 12-hour shifts.
For him, the hardest part was being away from family.
“I am most looking forward to going back and spending time with my kids face to face,” Bocook says. “Technology helped, but it just wasn’t the same.”
But all the employees saying the same thing — they’d all choose to do it again in a heartbeat.
“Our customers do very special things with our products and we knew they were counting on us,” Bocook says. “Our goal was to keep our workers safe, our families safe, but we needed to be sure to maintain the plant to supply what was needed.”
Now there were 42 employees total living at the plant total, the first batch got to go home Monday night, the second batch will get to go home at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.