Denka Performance Elastomer employee tests positive for COVID-19

Published 10:46 am Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
LAPLACE – Denka Performance Elastomer reported today that an employee at its facility near LaPlace tested positive for COVID-19. The facility employs around 250 people and has implemented measures to prevent spread of the virus.

Upon feeling ill on March 13, the impacted employee – a resident of St. Charles Parish – sought testing with a physician. The company has notified the individual’s small work team and other employees the individual came into contact with. These employees are self-quarantining and none are exhibiting symptoms. Plant personnel outside of the individual’s work area are considered low-risk for exposure. Appropriate actions, including good hygiene practices, additional health monitoring and employee self- evaluations, continue to be advised. The impacted employee will not return to work until cleared by medical personnel.

“We have been preparing for the likely case that we would have an employee, contractor or someone in their households test positive for COVID-19,” said Plant Manager Jorge Lavastida. “The safety and health of our employees and our community will remain our top priority during this time.”

Employees and contractors have been kept informed of the company’s plans and decisions since the virus was detected in the United States. Last week, based on federal and state guidance, the company took steps to limit employee exposure while keeping the facility operational by reducing staff onsite to only essential personnel and enabled non-essential personnel to tele-work and continue to support their respective functions.

DPE has also implemented the following measures, among others, to prevent the spread of the virus:

  1. Advising of hygiene and personal safety practices, including frequent employee guidance, hand sanitizer stations, increased onsite cleaning, etc.
  2. Advising daily self-monitoring, testing and self-quarantining
  3. Temperature-testing personnel and contractors prior to entering the site
  4. Reducing personnel onsite to essential employees and contractors
  5. Reducing face-to-face interaction at shift changes and other times
  6. Reducing visitor appointments on site
  7. Cancelling and limiting face-to-face meetings
  8. Cancelling business travel

About Denka Performance Elastomer

Denka Performance Elastomer LLC acquired DuPont’s Neoprene manufacturing operations in LaPlace. DPE employs more than 200 direct employees. DPE intends to make strategic investments in the facility while adhering to a key DPE guideline to develop and supply products that are safe and environmentally friendly. DPE considers the careful handling of materials and products and the prevention of their unauthorized release into the environment as its most important mission as a chemical manufacturer.