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MSDSonline Hurricane

What the Judges Said…
“Having EHS information is instrumental when working around hazardous material during the kinds of situations that result from disruptive weather events. The project around Hurricane Harvey is great.”

Hazardous chemical management and release remediation becomes more difficult during natural disasters where conditions are unpredictable. When Hurricane Harvey struck Houston and the surrounding Gulf Coast region, an area home to nearly a quarter of the country’s oil refining capacity and half of the nation’s chemical manufacturing facilities, VelocityEHS provided emergency responders, businesses, and others affected by the storm free access to chemical hazard information through its Hurricane Hazardous Chemical MSDS/SDS Access program.

For a limited time, all customers and non-customers in the area unable to retrieve on-site safety data sheet (SDS) binders could search through the millions of documents in the company’s online document database or call the designated storm relief hotline to locate the chemical safety information necessary to help keep first responders, workers, and communities safe and mitigate risks for any additional incidents from occurring.

The New York Times reported that nearly 100 hazardous substance spills occurred because of Hurricane Harvey. While the facilities that produce, store, or use hazardous chemicals often amass SDSs in paper binders to make the information accessible to workers, the failure of such systems is often revealed after a spill or other disaster has occurred, when these binders are unreachable. Without this information, those involved with spill mitigation and control don’t have the necessary instructions around safe chemical handling and cleanup, which puts them at substantial risk.

When news about Hurricane Harvey’s projected destruction emerged, VelocityEHS created a site where emergency responders and businesses could access critical hazardous chemical information through the company’s MSDSonline SDS database and a temporary storm relief hotline. Working together within just a few days’ time, the VelocityEHS product, IT, marketing, and customer care teams quickly built the system, processes, and communication content necessary to launch the website and hotline so they would be available at the height of the storm.

Once launched, the team contacted industry publications along with emergency and disaster recovery organizations including FEMA and OSHA to notify them of its availability. As a result of these efforts, the website facilitated nearly 1,700 database searches and more than 1,600 SDS document opens, providing immediate access to critical chemical safety information that may have otherwise been unattainable, VelocityEHS says.

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