4 workers injured on the job when sprayed by toxic chemicals

Passenger dies from car accident in Pickens County
May 23, 2012
Witness to motorcycle accident understandably shaken up
June 7, 2012
Show all

While there are many reasons workers could become injured on the job, one of the most common reasons for industrial accidents is that the equipment is not properly tested before being used. Even if there are numerous safety protocols that are in place, there is still a chance that, if the process is not tested or checked beforehand, workers stand a chance to get hurt. This especially can be seen in one South Carolina incident with a company called Resolute Forest Products, which had an accident that left four workers injured on the job.

The accident occurred when a ruptured pipe burst and sprayed four workers with sodium hydroxide, causing them to suffer severe burns. Sodium hydroxide is commonly used to break down fibers in wood chips and is very dangerous. That was the chemical that was spilled. When exposed to humans, sodium hydroxide can cause blindness, eye damage, burns, breathing difficulty, nausea and coma.

The spill in this instance was eventually contained and the workers were rescued through emergency responders inside the company, though outside medical emergency crews responded to the site as well. The company insists that this accident occurred as a result of a mechanical failure and not a result of unsafe working conditions.

South Carolina’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration has been at work investigating the accident to determine whether it was caused by any safety violations that may have occurred during the accident. While it is unclear whether any safety violations were broken in relation to this accident, Resolute Forest Products has been cited for four open violations earlier this year as a result of inspections. One of the violations that they previously received — in a case where four others were sent to the hospital for burns — was for not properly testing equipment.

Many times in industrial facilities, there may be an attempt to bypass equipment inspection or to not test out materials beforehand. However, in doing so the company is putting at risk the lives of their employees.

Source: Rock Hill Herald Online, “Accident at former Bowater plant doesn’t indicate unsafe working conditions, official says,” Jonathan Mcfadden, May 21, 2012.


We help people like you every day.