Day after day, as the pandemic gathered force, Yam Narayan Chaudhary stood sentry for 13½-hour shifts at Top Glove, the Malaysian company that is the world’s largest disposable glove-maker. Thousands of foreign workers, many from Nepal like Chaudhary, lined up as he checked their temperatures and waved them through to the factory.

Top Glove, which controls roughly a quarter of the global rubber glove market, was operating in overdrive, part of a frenzied effort to supply the world with protective equipment for the coronavirus. But as the company shipped gloves all over the world and enjoyed record profits, its low-paid workers in Malaysia began to suffer from a ferocious outbreak of COVID-19, the result of its own inadequate protections, critics say.

In interviews with The New York Times, five current and former Top Glove employees described working with masks soaked in sweat, sweltering in crowded hostels, taking COVID-19 tests for which they were never given results and enduring week after week of overtime shifts that may have left them more vulnerable to the disease.