VPPPA Members Making A Difference
COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind over the last few months. We weren’t surprised when we learned that VPPPA member sites were doing amazing things to help their communities, and the world at large.
We are so proud to note that VPPPA member, Honeywell, prioritized the supply of N95 masks to the most affected areas of the world to support the protection needs of frontline workers. Honeywell has been monitoring and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning of February.
To address the growing demand of masks during the outbreak of the coronavirus, Honeywell quickly ramped up production to make millions of the N95 masks in the United States. They are expanding manufacturing operations in a factory in Smithfield, Rhode Island, which also produces UVEX safety glasses. Those N95 face masks will be delivered to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for use to support health, safety and emergency response workers.
Honeywell expects the new mask production line in Smithfield will create at least 500 jobs. Recruiting, hiring and training manufacturing workers began earlier this year.
Cardinal Insulating Glass Industries
On March 20, VPPPA members, Cardinal IG in Greenfield, Iowa, donated 38 boxes of Nitrile Gloves to their local hospital, Adair County Memorial Hospital. Way to make a difference, Cardinal IG!
Veolia North America
Veolia North America is donating 40,000 masks to hospitals! Having the right personal protective equipment (PPE) can mean the difference between being infected with the virus or not. Veolia North America's Vice President of Corporate Health and Safety Mike Richter, a 32-year employee with a master’s degree in public health, understands that and is making sure that the company's stockpile of surgical masks is donated to hospitals that need them to keep patients and healthcare workers safe.
About 12 years ago, when a bird flu virus spread across Asia, North Africa and the Middle East, Veolia Water decided it would be a good idea to stock up on masks. After all, Veolia provides essential services to customers, such as producing drinking water and safely disposing of hazardous and infectious wastes. So, for the past decade, Veolia has kept a strategic stockpile of masks in safe storage for the day they would be needed.
Unfortunately, that day is here. Richter is in the process of coordinating the delivery of 40,000 surgical masks to hospitals in New York City, Houston, Philadelphia, Albuquerque, Colton, CA and Montreal. Veolia became keenly aware of the need for masks from several hospitals and nonprofit organizations caring for the sick and elderly.
“The need for surgical masks is so great at the present time that we’re seeing press reports of seamstresses, dry cleaners and quilters sewing masks using fabric remnants. We’re glad we can do our part to provide this crucial PPE to support patients and medical professionals who need it most,” said Richter.
The Valero Energy Foundation has committed $1.8 million to support organizations on the front lines helping people most in need, primarily in cities where the company operates.
Valero also recognized a potential blood supply shortage at the San Antonio Blood and Tissue Center in their hometown. Sixty percent of blood supply comes from bloodmobiles, which have been closed due to social distancing. Valero Energy Foundation is providing a $100,000 donation to help acquire, transport and set-up equipment (beds, machinery, etc.) for the central collection centers. Valero is also providing $25,000 in $10 gas cards to help incentivize healthy people to give blood.
“The health and the safety of our employees, our families and our communities are critically important,” said Joe Gorder, Valero Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We are blessed to be able to continue supporting our community partners as we all work together to overcome this extraordinary situation.”
VelocityEHS recently launched a free COVID-19 Resource Site to provide employers with the information necessary to keep their workforce safe and healthy from the global virus pandemic. The extensive repository contains articles, webinars and other helpful guides from VelocityEHS’ team of industrial hygiene, chemical management and ergonomics experts. Visit www.ehs.com/resources/covid-info/ to access the site.
“In response to the growing confusion surrounding the virus and rampant misinformation available, we’ve created a central location for EHS professionals to access resources they need to keep their workforces safe and healthy,” said Glenn Trout, CEO of VelocityEHS. “Our experts are working around the clock and in conjunction with other agencies to provide the public with ongoing information necessary to prepare, prevent and protect workers during this challenging time. It’s just our way to lend a helping hand to those at the frontline of this rapidly evolving situation.”
Cintas has been working to provide their customers with requested sanitation products to help minimize contamination, including dispensers, hand soap, toilet paper and EPA-approved cleaning chemicals.
Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant
With left-over fabric from an earlier project and a pattern taken from the internet, Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) Administrative Assistant, Beverly Magoon, began sewing medical masks after learning of shortages due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We are all in this together,” Magoon said. “We have to do what we need to do to get through this.”
Magoon plans to send 100 homemade masks to nurses and aides at the care center in Minnesota where her mother, who recently died, lived. The masks take only 10 minutes to make and the fabrics feature designs like dinosaurs, candy pieces, puzzles and sporting themes. Her recent Facebook posting of a mask fielded requests from friends in the medical industry in Pueblo as well. “I think it lightens the mood to see an aide with M&Ms across their face,” Magoon said.
Nationally, Providence Hospitals, a healthcare network serving seven states, as stated on their website, launched the “100 Million Mask Challenge,” asking for donations or volunteers to sew medical-grade masks to address severe shortages. The request was later updated, asking for donations when area manufacturing companies stepped in to build a supply of personal protective equipment.”
While not medical-grade, Magoon’s masks help. “I got the idea when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said if worse came to worse, to use a bandanna,” she said. Magoon said she plans to continue using scrap fabric to construct masks for family and acquaintances. “It’s fun and it helps to pass the time. I can only clean my house for so long,” she said.
PCAPP Administrative Assisant, Beverly Magoon, is sewing medical masks using scraps of leftover material.
On March 31, Raytheon received a call for help from the New York City Police Department. Their police officers needed protective equipment in their battle against COVID-19, and they needed it quickly. First responders needed full-body protective suits.
Raytheon maintains personal protective equipment (PPE) for normal operations and for contingencies, so the Operations and Logistics teams swung into action.
In less than 24 hours, Raytheon teams in New Mexico and Texas gathered 2,000 Tyvek suits, loaded them on a plane bound for New York, and safely delivered them where they were needed most.
Southwest Generation donated 25 boxes of food to the Kingsburg Community Assistance Program in Kingsburg, CA. They will continue to donate 25 boxes per week for following weeks. In addition, Valencia Power LLC in Belen, NM, (who have been recommended for Zia Star under the New Mexico VPP) donated 106 laptop computers to Belen Highschool. A significant number of students were unable to participate fully in distance learning, since they had outdated equipment or none at all.
These are definitely not the only member companies making a difference! You can find even more updates on VPPPA's social media pages.