May 1, 2020
In response to the urgent need for personal protective masks during the COVID-19 crisis, AIP Foundation and its social enterprise Protec have partnered together to launch a protective mask initiative to protect healthcare workers on the frontlines. Protec, a helmet manufacturer in Vietnam, will leverage its newly specialized production lines to produce an estimated 100 million face masks, including certified N-95 respirators and surgical masks, in the next two years. The initiative, which is supported by the FIA Foundation, will help address mask shortages and deliver protective equipment to heavily impacted healthcare workers and hospitals in the United States and in Europe.
Protec employs 150 staff in its factory in Vietnam, a significant proportion of whom are individuals with disabilities. The factory involved in this new mask initiative leverages production lines which have been adapted to support the workers with disabilities and also leverages quality safety features.
The newly constructed factory contains what is known as a cleanroom, which maintains a rigorously controlled environment with a low level of environmental pollutants, including dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles, and chemical vapors. Air entering the cleanroom is also continuously filtered and circulated through a double high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) system and an ultra- low particulate air (ULPA) system, ensuring workers are protected from internally-generated contaminants. The cleanroom also leverages computer-controlled systems to manage the temperature and humidity to ensure workers have a comfortable environment. Other safety features include a separate storage area for raw materials, an advanced fire safety system, protective airlocks, and protocol for workers to wear protective clothing.
As few manufacturers in Asia establish such a rigorous health and safety system in their factories, Protec aims to set an example to promote higher standards for the worker protection and welfare across the region.