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Progress in Peterborough

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UPDATE - February 24, 2014, 5:00 pm

Tuesday's Work Schedule
Tuesday's work schedule will be the same as for Monday. No changes.

Only noteworthy item for our employees is that we now have the cafeteria space available for breaks and lunch. Food service is still not available.

As of tomorrow, we will no longer post the schedule, as all but a handful of employees have been called back.

If you have any questions regarding the schedule, please contact HR.

UPDATE - February 21, 2014, 5:00 pm

Monday's Work Schedule
Please read carefully as the schedule has changed.
Operations on Monday, February 24, proceed with the exception of the following departments:

Select employees from the above listed departments may be called individually to report to work if needed. Please report to work at your regular start time for all shifts, unless specifically instructed otherwise.

Any employees scheduled for the weekend please refer below for parking, entrances, and cafeteria notes.

Parking

Both lots are open.

Employee Entrances

Three employee entrances are open: first floor by shipping, second floor near human resources, and second floor by the maintenance loading dock. All other employee entrances remain closed until further notice.

Cafeteria

For the time being, the cafeteria remains closed. Refrigerators and microwaves will not be accessible. Please plan accordingly.

UPDATE - February 21, 2014, 4:50 pm

All Assembly Department Employees Back to Work Monday.
On Monday, February 24, NHBB expects to have all available assembly department employees called back to work for the start of first shift. This means that all but a handful of employees from the most directly impacted areas are back to work.

On Wednesday, February 19, NHBB achieved a critical objective by restoring Assembly to certified clean room status per FED-STD-209E Class 10,000 and ISO 14644, Class 7. Over the last several days, we have been calling employees back into the assembly department to begin assembling product.

As part of the recovery process, every step we take is designed to ensure that product quality will not be compromised. To that end, both components and finished goods are being screened under rigorous criteria established by our highly skilled technical management team. At the same time, we continue to communicate with our customers regarding both the process of restoration and the estimated delivery of their critical orders.

We are proud of the milestones we have achieved thus far and look forward to Monday and the coming days, weeks, and months.

UPDATE - February 21, 2014, 4:40 pm

Counseling Resources
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Counselor will be at the main Peterborough facility (175 Jaffrey Road) on Monday, February 24, from 1:00 – 5:00 pm. Employees should come to Human Resources to sign up and/or meet with the counselor. Advance sign up is not required but will help if people are interested in an individual session.

Counseling is also offered through the EAP provided by NHBB’s health insurance. This program offers several free private off-site appointments or over-the-phone consultations. To utilize these counseling resources call NHBB’s health insurance provider directly. For more information contact NHBB’s Human Resources department.

UPDATE - February 20, 2014, 4:30 pm

Friday’s Work Schedule

Operations on Friday, February 21, continue with the exception of the following departments:

Selected employees from the above listed departments may be called individually to report to work if needed.

Please report to work at your regular start time for all shifts, unless specifically instructed otherwise.

Parking

Both lots are open.

Employee Entrances

Three employee entrances are open: first floor by shipping, second floor near human resources, and second floor by the maintenance loading dock. All other employee entrances remain closed until further notice.

Cafeteria

The cafeteria remains closed, as such refrigerators and microwaves will be not be accessible. Please plan accordingly.

EAP Counselor

A Counselor will be available for the majority of the day at the main Peterborough facility (175 Jaffrey Road). Employees should come to Human Resources to sign up and/or meet with the counselor. Advance sign up is not required but will help if people are interested in an individual session.

UPDATE - February 19, 2014, 5:00 pm

EAP Counselor
NHBB will have an EAP counselor available at the main Peterborough facility (175 Jaffrey Road) on Thursday, February 20, starting at 7:00 am and will stay for the day as needed. Employees should come to Human Resources to sign up and/or meet with the counselor. Advance sign up is not required but will help if people are interested in an individual session.

UPDATE - February 19, 2014, 4:00 pm

Thursday’s Work Schedule

Operations continue on Thursday, February 20, with the exception of the following departments:

Select employees from the above listed departments may be called individually to report to work if needed.

Please report to work at your regular start time for all shifts, unless specifically instructed otherwise.

Parking

Both lots are open.

Employee Entrances

Three employee entrances are now open: first floor entrance by shipping, second floor entrance near human resources, and second floor entrance by the maintenance loading dock. All other employee entrances remain closed until further notice.

Cafeteria

Unfortunately the cafeteria remains closed. Refrigerators and microwaves will be not be accessible. Please plan accordingly.

UPDATE - February 19, 2014, 8:30 am

EAP Counselor
NHBB will have an EAP counselor available at the main Peterborough facility (175 Jaffrey Road) today from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Employees should come to Human Resources to sign up and/or meet with the counselor. Advance sign up is not required but will help if people are interested in an individual session.

UPDATE - February 18, 2014, 4:30 pm

Wednesday’s Work Schedule

Operations continue on Wednesday, February 19, with the exception of the following departments:

Selected employees from the above listed departments may be called individually to report to work if needed.

Please report to work at your regular start time for all shifts, unless specifically instructed otherwise.

Parking

Both the upper and lower lots are now open.

Employee Entrances

Please still enter near human resources and the maintenance loading dock only. All other employee entrances remain closed until further notice.

Cafeteria

The cafeteria remains closed. Refrigerators and microwaves will not be accessible. Please plan accordingly.

UPDATE - February 18, 2014, 4:15 pm

Work on Peterborough Facility Continues
The following update regarding our operations cannot begin to relate the thousands of details and actions, employees and contractors it has taken to bring us to this point. We are seeing an evolution of our actions from general recovery of the facility to the specifics of restoring production and assessing the condition of product, machines, gauging, and other systems. We continue working in an urgent but controlled manner – product quality will not be compromised.

Re-establishing product flow requires strict adherence to established procedures and requirements. To that end, we are utilizing the collective knowledge of our highly skilled technical management team members to provide additional oversight and guidance related to the atypical aspects created by this accident.

We continue to communicate with our customers and work with them to understand and respond to their specific needs, whether related to the process of restoring production or determining expected delivery of their critical orders once we are fully operational.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, we are projecting that our assembly department will be operational by the end of this week. This timeline includes recertification to industry standard cleanliness levels. The assembly area employs close to 100 people, whom we expect are anxious to return to work.

We continue to restore operations most directly impacted by the accident. Certain functions – shipping, for example – have been transferred to other locations within the facility. Full production of balls and other components may be up to four weeks out, however, mitigation plans are underway to minimize the impact.

Our next update will occur as soon as the assembly department is operational.

UPDATE - February 18, 2014, 10:30 am

EAP Counselor
NHBB will have an EAP counselor available at the main Peterborough facility (175 Jaffrey Road) today from 2:00-5:00 pm. Employees should come to Human Resources to sign up and/or meet with the counselor. Advance sign up is not required but will help if people are interested in an individual session.

UPDATE - February 17, 2014, 5:30 pm

Update on Investigation
As many of you are aware, the State Fire Marshal's Office has publicly identified the cause of the explosion in Peterborough to be a Nitric Acid reaction. The investigation continues, and we've been advised that a final report from the Fire Marshal's office may be several weeks away. As that report becomes available, we will share the findings.

In the meantime, certainly, we are taking all precautions necessary to ensure the safety of employees at all NHBB divisions. Safety is truly our first and primary concern.

UPDATE - February 17, 2014, 3:30 pm

Tuesday's Work Schedule

Operations on Tuesday, February 18, will continue with the exception of the following departments:

Selected employees from above listed departments may be called individually to report to work if needed.

Please report to work at your regular start time for all shifts.

Parking

Please park in the upper lot only as the lower parking lot remains closed. Also, please enter through the employee entrances near human resources and the maintenance loading dock. All other employee entrances are closed until further notice.

Cafeteria

For the time being, the cafeteria remains closed. Refrigerators and microwaves will not be accessible. Please plan accordingly.

Counseling

We would like to remind employees that if you need support, please don't hesitate to contact Peterborough's Human Resources department for information and resources.

UPDATE - February 15, 2014

Recap of Gary's Visit
NHBB's President, Gary Yomantas, arrived in Peterborough, NH on Thursday, February 13, to offer his full support to the more than 700 employees who work here, as well as survey the damage to the facility left by Monday's explosion.

During discussions and interviews, Gary said his first and most important concern is for NHBB's employees. "We have always kept in mind the fact that we are a company made up of people," Gary said. "So after such a terrible event, we first have to ask, how is everybody, is everybody okay?"

Unfortunately, the answer was not the one he had hoped for. While nearly everyone seeking treatment was released very soon after, two of NHBB's employees were seriously injured and remain in the hospital. Gary has been in touch with their families and asks, "Please continue to keep them in your thoughts."

In terms of the facility itself, Gary said he was astonished by the amount of progress that has been made to clean up the debris and repair the damage in such a short period of time. "I am extremely impressed with the swift action and dedication of our executives and employees," said Gary. "I am very proud of their efforts in working around the clock to restore manufacturing operations."

Gary also took the opportunity while he was in NH to speak with Governor Maggie Hassan by phone. He expressed his gratitude for the outpouring of support NHBB received from New Hampshire's response infrastructure. "It is times like these when it's a blessing to have a business in the State of New Hampshire, even though this is an unfortunate situation."

Before leaving the facility, Gary expressed confidence in the health of the business. "Obviously, there has been a disruption in our manufacturing operations as a result of the accident," he said. "But that will be short lived. We're moving swiftly to restart operations and, therefore, I am extremely confident in the future growth of this business."

UPDATE - February 14, 2014, 4:15 pm

Day of Rest
Management of NHBB announced to their employees today that there would be no work done at the Peterborough facility on Sunday, February 16th. "Some of our employees have been working almost non-stop since the explosion on Monday," said Rich Bardellini, VP of Operations, "We need to get them some rest."

"The amazing progress made over the last several days is completely due to their own drive to get their fellow employees back to work," said Rich. "That drive and energy is not something we could ever have asked of them, but it's what they've given."

UPDATE - February 14, 2014, 4:10 pm

Manufacturing Work Schedules:

Saturday, February 15
Select employees may be called individually to report to work if needed. See Monday notes (below) regarding Parking and the Cafeteria.

Monday, February 17
As with Thursday and Friday (February 13-14), manufacturing operations on Monday the 17th will continue with the exception of the following departments:

Selected employees from above listed departments may be called individually to report to work if needed.

Please report to work at your regular start time for all shifts.

Parking (both days)
Please continue to park in the upper lot only; the lower parking lot remains closed. Also, please enter through the employee entrances near human resources and the maintenance loading dock. All other employee entrances are closed until further notice.

Cafeteria (both days)
The cafeteria is still closed. Refrigerators and microwaves will be inaccessible. Please plan accordingly.

UPDATE - February 14, 2014, 2:45 pm

NHBB Employee Relief Fund
As we steadily return to work after the February 10th incident, we are reminded that two of our fellow employees remain hospitalized with serious injuries. Those employees and their families remain in our thoughts throughout their recovery.

To assist these two individuals, the NHBB Employee Relief Fund has been established to directly and equally benefit them as they recover.

If you wish to make a contribution, please make checks payable to "NHBB Employee Relief Fund". Employees can bring donations to Human Resources (all divisions). All are welcome to drop off at any GFA branch location, or mail to:
GFA Federal Credit Union
PO Box 468
Gardner, MA 01440-0468

Thank you all for your strength and support during this challenging time.

Please Note: Donations are not tax deductible. We will share donor names with the two recipients unless donors indicate they wish to remain anonymous.

UPDATE - February 14, 2014, 11:50 am

Making Great Strides
As yet another indicator of our progress, we want to share the total headcount from yesterday (February 13) with you. Including all three shifts, 525 employees were back to work. That's 70% of our total 745 employees! All on a day when Mother Nature decided we needed an additional foot of snow. While we expect similar counts for today, we also expect that number to climb dramatically by the end of next week.

UPDATE - February 14, 2014, 10:00 am
NHBB will again have counseling support available on Friday at 375 Jaffrey Road, Peterborough, from 11:30 am to 5:00 pm. Counseling Services will continue to be provided as long as necessary.

NHBB would like to remind employees that if you need support, please don't hesitate to contact Peterborough's Human Resources department for information and resources.

UPDATE - February 13, 2014, 3:30 pm

Friday's Work Schedule
Manufacturing operations will continue, February 14, with the exception of the following departments:

Selected employees from above listed departments may be called individually to report to work if needed.

Please report to work at your regular start time for all shifts.

Parking
Please park in the upper lot only; the lower parking lot remains closed. Also, please enter through the employee entrances near human resources and the maintenance loading dock. All other employee entrances are closed until further notice.

Cafeteria
Unfortunately the cafeteria is still closed. Refrigerators and microwaves will also be inaccessible. Please plan accordingly.

UPDATE - February 13, 2014, 2:30 pm

Manufacturing Update

As of today, February 13th, we wanted to give you an update regarding the status of our building in Peterborough and the prospect of resuming production.

Please know that while our actions have been focused on ensuring the safety of our employees, inspecting and repairing the building and returning to full production, our thoughts have been focused on our two most seriously injured employees. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts.

As you can imagine, there have been many very dedicated employees working around the clock in order to bring us to this point. The change from Monday afternoon to this morning has been dramatic.

Starting with our first shift operation today, we have called in employees for all departments except the ball plant, ball inspection, press room/retainer, and assembly. NHBB has approximately 375 employees in the building today, 135 specifically dedicated to the production process. The additional 200 people are salaried and production support personnel, as well as those involved in facilities support.

While much of the morning has been spent bringing machines back on line and going through strenuous quality evaluations, we expect the time from start up to resumptions of component fabrication to be swift. Already, parts are being produced in turn, secondary, and grind departments.

Also, barring anything unforeseen, we are expecting both assembly and shipping operations to be functional next week.

While we understand the NH State Fire Marshal's office yesterday released the cause of the accident to be a Nitric Acid reaction, we have not received their report yet. We do agree with their focus and are continuing to investigate the specific details behind the explosion.

Certainly, there were some very specific activities undertaken by the Fire Marshal's office before their scene investigation was complete and the building was turned back over to NHBB. Testing by the Fire Marshal's office revealed no release of chemicals outside the building, and air quality was tested and deemed safe. NHBB also completed a review of the integrity of all chemical storage areas.

We will make further updates as we progress.

UPDATE - February 13, 2014 11:30 am

Injured employees

On behalf of NHBB and the families of those injured employees, we would like to thank all who have expressed concern for their well-being. We understand that both are in critical but stable conditions and that their recovery will be long and difficult. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

UPDATE - February 13, 2014 9:15 am

Counseling and Resources

NHBB would like to remind employees that if you need support, please don't hesitate to contact Peterborough's Human Resources department for information and resources.

NHBB will again have counseling support available on Thursday at 375 Jaffrey Road from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Counseling Services will continue to be provided as long as necessary.

UPDATE - February 12, 2014, 5:00 pm

Thursday's Work Schedule

All employees – thank you for your patience in recent days. We’re making daily gains with the objective of resuming full operations far more quickly than previously anticipated.

Manufacturing operations will resume the morning of Thursday, February 13, with the exception of the following departments:

Selected employees from above listed departments may be called individually to report to work if needed.

Please report to work at your regular start time for all shifts. The only exception to this is for employees scheduled to start prior to 7:00 am. No employees should arrive in the building before 7:00 am.

Parking

Please park in the upper lot only; the lower parking lot is closed. Please enter through the employee entrances near human resources and the maintenance loading dock only. All other employee entrances will be closed until further notice.

Cafeteria

For the time being, the cafeteria will remain closed and the refrigerators and microwaves will be inaccessible. Please plan accordingly.

UPDATE - February 12, 2014, 11:30 pm

Letter to Employees from Gary Yomantas, NHBB’s President

Gary expresses concern about the well being of NHBB’s employees, offers full support to the two employees who were badly injured, and commits to paying the base wages to every employee prevented from working due to the plant shut down or limited operation. Read the letter.

UPDATE - February 11, 2014, 5:30 pm

Wednesday's Schedule

All work shifts (1st, 2nd and 3rd) have been canceled for tomorrow, Wednesday, February 12, with the goal of resuming operations on Thursday in select departments, including component fabrication, component fabrication support groups, and office personnel. We expect to post further updates on this page throughout the day on Wednesday.

Support available through the Employee Assistance Program

On Wednesday, February 12, NHBB is offering counseling through the Employee Assistance Program at the satellite training facility at 375 Jaffrey Road from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. NHBB is encouraging those affected to take advantage of this program. Appointments are not necessary.

UPDATE - February 11, 2014, 3:10 pm

The Peterborough facility will not resume manufacturing operations during today’s 2nd and 3rd shifts. NHBB executives, along with state and local officials, continue to assess the situation and plan on making a determination regarding tomorrow's first shift later in the day.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 7:59 am - NHBB's Statement Concerning Explosion at Peterborough, NH Facility
As was reported yesterday, the Peterborough facility of New Hampshire Ball Bearings, Inc. experienced an explosion in the bottom floor at approximately 3:30 pm on Monday, February 10, 2014.

As of yesterday afternoon, all employees have been accounted for. There have been conflicting reports in the media about the number of people who were hurt. Our understanding is that 14 people were injured and taken to the local hospital. As of 7:45 pm last night, 12 patients were treated and released. Two employees were treated and transferred to other hospitals which are better equipped to care for their specific needs.

Within hours, we heard from our neighbors, our community, our local government officials, our parent company, our customers, and many others, requesting to help us in any way possible. We ask that all of you keep our employees and their families in your thoughts and prayers. Our first and primary concern is for them.

All of us at NHBB are grateful beyond words for the response we received from our NH emergency teams: ambulance/rescue crews, fire crews, local and state police, Hazmat teams, OSHA officials, fire investigators, and many others. The response was overwhelming, immediate, and complete.

Responding departments have spent the night in frigid temperatures investigating the explosion but, as of this writing, the specific cause has not yet been determined.

Power and heat have been restored in all but the affected areas. However, e-mail communication has been interrupted.

The facility will be closed at least through the first shift on Tuesday as we assess both the cause of the explosion and the building’s safety. We will not have our employees return to work until both NH state officials and NHBB's management team are convinced beyond any doubt that everyone will be safe.

NHBB is so fortunate to be a member of such a wonderful community. Thank you.

We will update our website as further information becomes available. www.nhbb.com.