Stericycle continues to support the global fight against the pandemic.
Our role as an essential part of the healthcare community in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic served as proof of our commitment to protecting what matters. We’ve never been prouder of our team. Since the start of the pandemic, our team members around the world have remained dedicated to serving our customers, supporting our business, and protecting the health and well-being of our communities.
As the pandemic unfolded, our teams worked closely with key regulatory agencies to determine and implement best practices for the proper packaging, transportation, and treatment of COVID-19-generated medical waste. We also provided leadership to the healthcare industry as hospitals and clinics sought information on how to safely and compliantly manage their COVID-related medical waste.
In the U.S., we established a Coronavirus Knowledge Center for the healthcare community and hosted well-attended webinars on managing COVID-19 medical waste.
To protect the health and well-being of our front-line team members serving hospitals and the healthcare community, we worked with a disciplined sense of urgency to update policies and procedures and implemented new protocols specifically to reduce COVID-19 exposure risk. Our strategic sourcing team worked diligently to provide our field operations employees with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). We staggered shift times and dedicated trucks to specific drivers to reduce potential exposure to and spreading of COVID-19. Finally, we implemented more rigorous cleaning protocols for our facilities.
As shelter-in-place orders took effect in 2020, we shifted more than 7,000 team members around the globe to work from home arrangements. This transition led to new development opportunities to support our managers and supervisors on techniques to maintain business productivity and connectivity. Additionally, we significantly increased the cadence of our regular company-wide communications with our team members to keep our organization united and focused on serving our customers.
As healthcare providers and governments readied for the distribution of vaccines, Stericycle again operated behind the scenes to facilitate their initiatives. Our team supported the U.S. efforts to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, ensuring that proper sharps disposal was a part of the plan for vaccine distribution.
In anticipation of increased demand for medical waste disposal solutions due to vaccine distribution, we modernized our distribution center to increase production of sharps disposal mail back kits by over 400%, and we increased our available inventory of reusable sharps containers for hospitals.