Less than a month after agreeing to make life-saving ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic, General Motors says production has begun at its facility in Kokomo, Indiana and the first ventilators are now ready for use at Chicago hospitals.
How did GM safely transform an old car factory office space in less than a month? They utilized Commercial Contracting Corporation and a workforce trained in Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) from the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters.
IKORCC carpenters and millwrights earn ICRA certifications and take special courses in addressing the spread of contaminants in all aspects of construction. ICRA involves control of many factors including air pressure differentials, anterooms, medical facility awareness, effective communication, and personal protective equipment.
Carpenters and millwrights completed the demolition of the former office space, laid flooring, built walls, and installed equipment and workstations for ventilator production, taking the necessary steps to comply with infection control protocols.
A month later, production has begun on the much-needed ventilators and carpenters are busy converting another space for ventilator production.
“It feels good to know you have helped America in this time of need alongside your union brothers and sisters,” said IKORCC millwright Codey Stevens.
The ventilators are being produced under GM’s $489.4 million contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, requiring 30,000 ventilators for the Strategic National Stockpile by the end of August and 6,132 by June.
GM CEO Mary Barra said, “The work that has happened, has happened over — what normally would take probably weeks — has happened in days and sometimes hours. And it’s the dedication of the team down there. They are working so hard, many of them working more than 20 hours a day, to be able to get ventilators off the line as quickly as possible.”
This is one of dozens of vital projects the IKORCC is working on to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its onset, carpenters have built testing sites, converted hospital spaces into COVID units, created overflow units outside hospitals, donated PPE to local hospitals, and more.