residents return home after hurricane harvey Win McNamee/Getty Images

Texas Strong: Safety Steps Up to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

It should come as no surprise that many safety-related companies are donating money, equipment and resources to help Texas recover from Hurricane Harvey.

The flooding in Texas from Hurricane Harvey is anticipated to surpass Hurricane Katrina in terms of property damage and cost. While it will be a long time before the final numbers are tallied, estimates of the economic damage suffered range from $70 billion to $108 billion. The financial toll does not even come close to the high emotional cost on tens of thousands of Texas residents and business owners who lost everything as a result of the hurricane.

Many companies associated with occupational safety and health have stepped up to help recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey. Here are just a few of those companies and what they are doing to help Texas and Texans. If you have other examples, please send them to [email protected] and we will update this list.

Honeywell

Honeywell has donated about $2 million in personal protective equipment (PPE) to support first responders and emergency personnel in efforts to assist their communities following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

Houston and other communities across southeast Texas face massive cleanup and restoration efforts in the wake of the storm’s torrential rain and flooding, notes a press release from the company. Hurricane Harvey displaced thousands of families and caused billions of dollars in losses, including damage to the equipment and PPE that many fire departments and first responders need to respond to emergencies in their communities.

Honeywell, a global leader in safety products, will donate nearly 100,000 pieces of PPE, including safety clothing, protective footwear, rubber boots, safety gloves, disposable masks for respiratory protection, protective eyewear, hard hats and hearing protection. Also included are high-visibility T-shirts and coats for the safety of workers near roads.

“This past week has been an impossibly difficult one for many Texans as Hurricane Harvey caused mass devastation in Texas and along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Our thoughts are with the many thousands of families whose lives have been disrupted,” said Darius Adamczyk, Honeywell president and CEO. “In addition to supporting first responders, Honeywell will provide employees in the area with protective safety gear to support their personal needs along with emergency financial support through our humanitarian relief program.”

Delta Industrial Service and Supply, a Honeywell distributor in Texas, has been in contact with many local and regional fire departments about their equipment needs, and will coordinate distribution of the donated gear to fire departments. Fire departments should contact Delta at 1-800-249-5292 for more information.

“Under these extraordinary circumstances, we want to help volunteers, employees and our customers to be as safe as possible,” said John Waldron, president, Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions. “We are proud of the great work being done by first responders and so many others, and we are thankful for the ability to help those on the front lines who provide help where it is needed the most.”

Honeywell has nearly 1,000 employees across nine sites in the Houston metropolitan area along with another 100 employees in Orange, Texas. The Honeywell Humanitarian Relief Fund (HHRF) is supporting Honeywell employees who have been affected by the flooding, and the company is matching employee contributions to the fund dollar for dollar.

VelocityEHS

VelocityEHS, the global leader in cloud environment, health, safety (EHS) and sustainability software, is offering disaster relief organizations, emergency responders and local businesses affected by Hurricane Harvey access to its MSDSonline safety data sheet (SDS) library at no cost. 

“Hazardous chemical management and release remediation is a major concern for any company, but becomes exponentially more difficult during natural disasters where the surrounding conditions are often unpredictable,” said Glenn Trout, president and CEO of VelocityEHS. “We hope the first responders, businesses, facilities and organizations affected by this unprecedented disaster can make use of our resources to protect their communities from any additional hazardous health repercussions.”

For a limited time, all customers and non-customers in the Gulf Coast can visit www.EHS.com/Harvey to search through the millions of safety sheets in the MSDSonline database to locate critical safety information for chemicals released from area oil refineries, chemical plants, gas facilities, manufacturing facilities and other sources during the storm and its cleanup. In addition, a dedicated emergency toll-free telephone number (1-844-308-7011) has been set up to help those who need a safety data sheet, but don’t currently have internet access.

Without accurate information on the SDSs around the health and environmental risks associated with chemicals that may have been released, it’s impossible to understand their full impact on the surrounding community and how to correctly administer the clean-up process. The public health risks from chemicals released during Hurricane Harvey are particularly concerning, considering the high concentration of petroleum refining, ethylene production and chemical feed stock facilities in the surrounding Gulf Coast area. While OSHA requires these facilities to have chemical inventory and hazard information accessible to workers, it’s a common practice to amass SDSs in paper binders only, making the information potentially inaccessible in the event of evacuations and flooding.

ProAct Safety

ProAct Safety is headquartered in the Houston area, and the company and its employees directly have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. But that’s not stopping the company from reaching out and providing ways its customers can help victims of the hurricane.

The company sent out an email offering these ways to help:​​​

 Wolverine World Wide Inc.

Wolverine World Wide Inc. announced it will commit over $2.6 million to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts through financial, footwear and apparel donations.

In an effort to speed relief and recovery to the impacted regions of Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Wolverine Worldwide has partnered with the American Red Cross, the Two Ten Footwear Foundation and the United Way to donate to relief efforts in Texas.  As part of this donation, the company will send over 35,000 units of footwear and apparel items to aid in the support – both for those impacted by the storm and for the first responders aiding in the recovery efforts.  

“We are saddened to see the devastating effects from Hurricane Harvey,” said, Blake Krueger, chairman, CEO and president. “We are working with our partners in the area to ensure our donations get to where they are needed most and we're committed to supporting the community during this time. We are hopeful these donations will provide meaningful support for the community over the coming weeks and months.”

The company also has established an employee fundraising campaign to encourage employees across the organization to individually support relief efforts as a living example of one of Wolverine’s core values – to “Make the World a Better Place.”

Schneider Electric

The Schneider Electric Foundation has pledged $100,000 to the American Red Cross to support disaster relief efforts, as communities in Texas and Louisiana attempt to recover from the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Harvey. Additionally, the Schneider Electric Foundation will match all U.S. employee personal donations, doubling their gifts to non-profits supporting Hurricane Harvey disaster relief.

“Our hearts and thoughts go out to the communities who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey and Schneider Electric stands with those impacted by the challenges ahead as the recovery effort begins,” said Annette Clayton, CEO and president, North America Operations, Schneider Electric. “We are working with our employees in Houston and the surrounding areas, as well as the broader community, to ensure their safety, and will partner with them as we rebuild.”

As a business with a major footprint in Louisiana and Texas, particularly Houston, Schneider Electric is working with local employees and customers affected to provide as much assistance and information as possible. The company’s operations and services professionals continue to mobilize to ensure that safety is top priority, and to help restore power safely and efficiently. Schneider Electric will be deploying more field service engineers into the region in the coming weeks to support the recovery of such communities as hospitals, schools and businesses.

“Among the many challenges ahead, the risk of electrocution, fire and other safety hazards from damaged and flooded electrical systems is severe. We urge everyone in affected areas to stay safe, follow guidelines from FEMA, and exercise caution before returning to homes and businesses,” said Clayton.

For more information on the Schneider Electric Foundation, please visit the webpage.

For more information on electrical safety in the wake of the storm, and evaluating and restoring power to water-damaged equipment, please visit the company's hurricane landing page.

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