Protecting our Employees


2020 was a year like no other. Throughout the pandemic, we quickly implemented personal and workspace protection and enhanced cleaning protocols, following the local health guidelines at every H.B. Fuller site worldwide. And, our teams looked out for each other. When we began to have issues securing personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies needed to work safely, our quick-thinking employees were able to combat these shortages with some creative and resourceful approaches.

Securing Much Needed and in Demand PPE

As the COVID-19 outbreak began to spread and face coverings became difficult to secure, our team in South Korea purchased 5,500 masks locally and shipped these to their colleagues in China in time to meet that government’s face covering mandate.

Due to the strong relationships that two of our company’s leaders had built with their suppliers and distributors over the years, we were able to buy about 500,000 KN95 masks, 500,000 pairs of gloves, and drums of hand sanitizer, which were later decanted into 2,000 bottles. The supplies were shipped in bulk to our headquarters in the U.S., where teams of employee volunteers repacked these materials for distribution to each of our plants, labs and virtual employees in North America

Keeping our Workplaces and Homes Virus-Free

Following the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance, we enacted social distancing measures in all of our facilities worldwide. Some of these have involved further spacing desks and work areas. In addition, we installed barriers and plexiglass dividers as well reduced meeting room and common area capacity. Where possible and practical, our employees worked from home to help limit our essential manufacturing, technical service and technology employees’ potential exposure.

We also found a way to leverage one of our own products to keep our employees safe, making our Foster® 40-80 First Defense™ disinfectant available to employees at work and in their homes. Since First Defense was proven to be effective against viruses similar to COVID-19 on hard, non- porous surfaces and approved for use in the United States and Canada, we worked quickly to get a supply to each facility in those countries to properly disinfect our working areas. We then provided more than 2,000 North American employees a supply for their personal use, free of charge. Since then, a new version has been already approved in some European countries and we have been able to expand its availability.

Effective Communication and Education Critical to Fighting COVID-19

As soon as the coronavirus outbreak expanded outside of Wuhan, affecting our employees in China, we knew that communication and education would be key to fighting the spread of the virus. We immediately increased the frequency and reach of our employee communications, including through email, videos, town halls and informative virtual meetings, onsite posters, just to name a few. And, we introduced a new publication, HBF Alert, to keep employees aware of the impact of COVID-19 on our business across the globe. Not only did these regular messages keep our employees informed throughout the pandemic but have also brought our entire company closer together.