April 6, 2020
Gypsum Industry Critical to Nations’ Infrastructure
In support of nationwide efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus, the Gypsum Association (GA), a not-for-profit trade association representing gypsum panel manufacturers in the United States and Canada issues the following statement on behalf of its member companies.
Gypsum Panels: Essential Building Products
Gypsum panel products are indispensable to the construction industry across North America. Local, state, and national building codes require the use of gypsum panels (also known as drywall or wallboard) for their significant contribution to fire safety. Gypsum panels provide passive fire resistance in all building types, from healthcare to housing.
Members of the Gypsum Association rely on appropriate federal, state, and provincial COVID-19 guidance. The Department of Homeland Security’s CISA Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce Version 2.0, identifies “Workers who support the supply chain of building materials from production through application/installation” as essential. While 45 states currently are limiting at least some work activities, the majority of states consider construction and building suppliers critical infrastructure or essential businesses.
Gypsum Manufacturing: An Essential Industry
Across the United States and Canada, more than 70 gypsum plants owned by GA member companies produce in excess of 20 billion square-feet of panels each year. Members of the Gypsum Association take pride in producing roughly 95 percent of the panels used in the United States and Canada.
In addition to fire resistance, gypsum panels are engineered into specialized types to satisfy specific performance requirements including abuse resistance, impact resistance, and mold and moisture resistance. Gypsum panels also serve as a key component of sound-rated assemblies that provide crucial speech privacy. While extremely mindful of the need to slow the spread of COVID-19, the gypsum industry is confident that domestic supply of gypsum panel products can be maintained.
Gypsum Industry: Commitment to Worker Health and Safety
A profound commitment to worker health and safety already exists within gypsum manufacturing facilities. Gypsum panel manufacturing facilities are highly automated and can incorporate recommended distancing. Additional safety procedures are readily incorporated at plants where safety precautions and personal protective equipment (PPE) are mandatory under ordinary circumstances.