Newcastle father suffers horrendous acid burns
Posted: May 1, 2016
Posted in: Arm Injury Head and Brain Injuries Leg Injuries Workplace Injuries
A 59-year-old father of three from Newcastle has won £210,000 in compensation for acid burns sustained whilst working for a pharmaceutical company. The electrical technician, who has not been named, had just taken over his shift and was disconnecting pipes from a tank containing Bromine, a hazardous acid. When he decoupled the pipe, residual acid, which should have been drained by his colleague on the previous shift, sprayed on to the worker, causing him extensive burns to his limbs and face.
The technician ran immediately to a nearby safety shower to wash the acid off. Extensive burns to his face, eyelid, right arm and right leg had already occurred, leaving him with sight difficulty and requiring two skin graft operations to the burns. He had to spend three weeks in the hospital’s critical burns unit and had to visit a nurse three times a week to have his dressings changed. The worker, who thought that he was going to die of his injuries, has since developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rendering him unable to return to work.
“I thought I was going to die”
He stated: “As soon as the acid hit me, I thought I was going to die. I instinctively sprinted to the showers, but the acid was in my eyes and I could barely see anything. It was the longest few seconds of my life”.
Representatives of the electrical technician pointed out that full protective clothing should be provided to employees who are handling hazardous substances such as Bromine. At the time of his accident, the worker was wearing a boiler suit, safety goggles and a hard hat, which was in no way enough to offer appropriate protection.
Karen Reay, regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “When working with toxic substances like Bromine, it’s a given that employees must be fully protected at all times. Our member was wearing a hard hat, safety googles and a boiler suit at the time of the accident, which was massively inadequate against the devastating effects of the acid.”
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