During the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of our employees has always been our top priority. We continue to deliver our essential products to consumers and focus on business operations in the face of the pandemic. Those efforts include continuing to keep plants operating, employees safe, and position Whirlpool Corporation to win in the eventual recovery.
Caring for Our Employees
Employee safety is our number one priority at Whirlpool Corporation, and we responded early with a Global Coronavirus Task Force that met daily to assess developments, communicate health and safety guidance, and address employee questions. We increased safety measures at all manufacturing plants and expanded flexible work policies for all employees able to work from home.
Our plants were quick to make adjustments in the face of COVID-19—in some cases within 24 hours. Through the World Class Manufacturing system, it was possible to quickly institute COVID-19 protocols. This was reinforced with a continued commitment from our people within all our plants around the globe to exercise safety protocols on a daily basis. These measures still consist of regular temperature checks, six-foot social distancing, increased routine cleaning in work and other areas, and an emphasis on individual accountability for all of our employees.
Caring for Our Consumers
We established plans to ensure our consumers had our trusted appliances to improve life at home with their families, knowing they depend on our home appliances more than ever to clean, cook and provide proper food and medicine storage. Service and support continued with strict health and safety processes in place, along with contactless delivery in most regions across our operations.
Caring for Our Communities
Our consumers and the communities in which we work and live are at the forefront of everything we do as a company. At no time in the 109-year history of our company has this been more apparent than during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did we have a responsibility to continue making the appliances that help keep people’s lives running during this global crisis, but as we have done since we were founded, felt a sense of responsibility to provide aid and assistance to our local communities in any way possible.
During 2020, we continued to support organizations such as United Way® by contributing to its COVID-19 relief fund, and we stepped up our support of local food pantries and homeless shelters that saw increased needs as families around the globe found their resources spread thin. We also contributed funding and much-needed supplies such as personal protective equipment and appliances to hospitals and other health care facilities worldwide to aid them during the crisis. Our employees never stopped innovating, as we designed, engineered, built and donated thousands of Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) to health care workers on the front lines of the crisis in the U.S. and Brazil. We made face mask extenders with our 3D printers for hospitals near our manufacturing centers, and looked for new ways to use our appliances to combat the spread of the virus.
Powered Air Purification Respirators: Whirlpool Corporation, Dow Inc. and Reynolds Consumer Products Inc. collaborated to provide much-needed respirators. Together, we designed and built headgear and a respirator system, critical in helping ensure the safety of front-line medical workers who are often in direct contact with COVID-19 patients.
Mechanical Ventilators: Whirlpool engineers based in Cassinetta di Biandronno, Italy developed a mechanical ventilator and PPE face shields that were donated to a local hospital and front-line workers.