Esfil Tehno, manufacturer of protective masks based in the northeastern Estonian city of Sillamäe, is hiring workers and intends to switch to two shifts per day soon, Postimees said.
Working 16 hours of day instead of eight would allow the company to double its output from the present 10,000 respirator masks per day.
CEO Araik Karapetjan said the company is planning to hire 60 workers in addition to the 101 that were already on their payroll on Friday. He said that while, theoretically, it would be possible to start working in three shifts and manufacture protective masks 24 hours a day, that would not be sensible.
"Just like people, equipment also needs rest. If we kept our machinery running 24 hours a day, it would start to break down soon," Karapetjan said.
All workers of Esfil are from Ida-Viru County, mostly Sillamäe, but also Narva and Jõhvi.
The CEO said they are hiring mostly women due to women's greater aptitude at such work. The company hires also workers without relevant skills, saying that after a week of training also unskilled workers can start producing quality output.
It is mandatory for workers at Esfil to wear masks when at work to prevent the spread of infection. The masks worn by the workers have been manufactured at Esfil.
"Our biggest risk is that someone of our workers will fall ill. God grant that this will not happen, it would be a big problem. We are doing everything on our part for workers to stay well and for us not to have to quarantine anybody," Karapetjan said.
The company has not introduced strict controls on workers, such as measuring their body temperature before a shift, but has explained to workers that in case of symptoms they should not come to work in order to not put others at risk.
Demand for masks and other personal protective equipment has increased after the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Estonia.
Editor: Helen Wright