How we are protecting employees and the community

As Michigan and the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of our employees and community remain our top priority. To accomplish that, HSC is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control to make our workplace safe and help our employees follow the guidelines. Here are some of the steps we’re taking:

  • We’ve given any employee who can work from home the technology and support to do so. Right now, 40% of our workforce is working offsite.
  • We’re following CDC guidelines to ensure HSC and QSS workers are healthy and don’t show COVID-19 symptoms by checking their temperature and asking screening questions when they come to work.
  • We’ve increased cleaning of frequently contacted surfaces throughout the facility. In addition, all employees are encouraged to wipe down shared work surfaces before and after use.
  • We’ve educated employees on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and actively encouraged employees to stay home if they’re sick.
  • We’ve rescheduled shifts to reduce close-contact situations between employees onsite.
  • We’ve staggered break schedules for QSS and HSC shift workers and set aside designated seating to provide employees with a minimum of 6-foot spacing in break areas.
  • We’ve alternated exit schedules for onsite workers to reduce crowding when they leave work.
  • We’ve changed prefilters for our Clean Room Environment, which ensures ultrapure air filtration, if anyone tests positive for COVID-19.
  • We’ve switched to food-to-go for employee lunches, reducing the number of employees in our cafeteria.
  • We’ve worked with subcontractor groups to take additional precautions to protect workers with social distancing and scheduling adjustments.
  • We’ve asked anyone from our workforce who has come into contact with anyone known to have the coronavirus to self-quarantine for 14 days.

We’ll continue to implement additional measures that ensure the safety of our employees through this global pandemic as needed.

Instances of COVID-19 at HSC

The steps outlined above are intended to keep HSC and QSS employees safe and help the Great Lakes Bay Region “flatten the curve” of spreading COVID-19 cases, easing stress on health care workers and hospitals. As HSC and QSS become aware of an employee who tests positive for COVID-19, our team works through the following procedures:

  • We gather information on the employee’s last time on site.
  • We track where the ill worker has been onsite.
  • Per CDC guidelines we shut down operations where the ill person has worked until the area can be deep cleaned.
  • We notify HSC employees and QSS contract workers that a person has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • We enlist a trained sanitizing staff to do a deep clean to disinfect the areas where the person who tested positive has worked.
  • We remind HSC and QSS workers that they should stay home if they have any COVID-19 symptoms and to be aware if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Why HSC continues to produce ultra-pure polysilicon

HSC is the nation’s largest producer of ultra-pure polysilicon and the only one headquartered in the United States. The polysilicon produced at HSC supports the creation of semiconductors, which enable electronic products critical to virtually all sectors of the economy to function. That’s especially important to the IT systems that enable remote work and access to essential services such as health care, banking, online classes, government services (e.g., unemployment insurance), food distribution and medical prescriptions.

In addition, the semiconductors produced with polysilicon are the building blocks for a wide array of essential industries, including medical devices and telemedicine, energy and water systems, telecommunications, transportation and agriculture.

As our lives become more digitized, especially during a global pandemic, the need for our polysilicon is more important than ever. That’s why HSC is considered critical infrastructure under federal and state definitions. By producing hyper-pure polysilicon, the building block for semiconductors and solar panels, HSC helps vital industries continue to function.

As one of Saginaw County’s largest employers, HSC is dedicated to making our work environment as safe as possible so HSC and QSS workers can continue to work and support their families.

Supporting health care workers

In March, HSC workers scoured the plant and found more than 15,000 masks, coveralls, gloves and other personal protection equipment (PPE) materials that health care workers at Covenant HealthCare could use. HSC sent three pallets of PPE materials to Covenant, which has four main campuses in and around Saginaw as well as other staff serving in 14 surrounding counties.

We encourage others to find out how they can support the community during the COVID-19 outbreak by going to the PPE donations page on the website for THRIVE, the collaborative initiative serving the Great Lakes Bay Region.

A message from CEO Mark Bassett:

“We are proud to be members of the Great Lakes Bay Region, filled with compassionate, considerate people who are taking proper steps to protect the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“These times have caused all of us to adapt and take precautions that may feel unusual or difficult, but we take them knowing that we are doing the right thing for our family, friends and neighbors.

“Thank you to all of our frontline doctors and nurses for being the ones tending to our sick, saving lives and keeping our region healthy. Thank you to businesses and individuals who are supporting our healthcare workers by staying home, donating supplies and showing well-deserved support.”