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North Ridgeville's football helmet manufacturer, Riddell, playing catch up after shut down

Buckeye Built: Riddell helmets
Posted at 11:24 AM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 18:27:26-04

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio — In North Ridgeville, hundreds of employees inside Riddell are working to make sure athletes are protected while on the football field.

The football helmet manufacturer shut down earlier this year for nearly six weeks due to the coronavirus.

"We did take a phased approach when we were able to bring employees back," said Ben Marker, a plant general manager at Riddell.

Marker said before employees were brought back inside the building, several changes were made to comply with state guidelines.

Some of the changes include:
- Face coverings
- Daily temperature checks
- Increased cleaning
- Installation of Plexiglas barriers and welding curtains on the assembly line
- Designating one-way entrances and exits
- Monthly deep clean

Marker said once a month Riddell is using a 30-day kill chemical on every surface inside the plant. "It's just another added layer of sanitation that we have once a month that keeps us safe for about 30 days."

The North Ridgeville facility is roughly 350,000 square feet. Marker said the size of the building made it easy to socially distance workers while on the job.

"We probably have it a little bit easier than most companies," he said.

However, the company added a third shift when they reopened to help with a large number of helmets in need of reconditioning. That's the process where worn helmets are cleaned, sanded, buffed and inspected to ensure they're safe for the field. "We're still roughly about 4-5 weeks behind."

Marker called the process the most critical part of their business.

To help get back on track, Riddell is hiring. Marker said they're looking for nearly 50 additional employees, both temporary and full-time positions.

"We're looking for folks who've had assembly experience," he said. "Anybody who's been in a painting spray booth. We're also looking for some people who've done buffing and sanding. Even shipping and packing."

Click here for more information about open positions at Riddell.

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