By Tara Crisp-Schwartz for AssuredPartners
A recent injury incident in Midland, Texas, has spotlighted a little-known hazard related to working with sodium hypochlorite, also known as, bleach.
An employee, who was performing water treatment duties in conjunction with the water transfer department, violated the standard operating procedure when working with sodium hypochlorite and suffered second and third degrees burn on his backside. The pump that the employee was utilizing to inject the sodium hypochlorite into the water manifold would not prime. The employee deviated from the standard operating procedure and inadvertently broke the line that contained 12.5% sodium hypochlorite. The employee was wearing the required PPE [issued by the employer and recommended on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS)]; goggles, face shield, chemical splash apron, and chemical-resistant gloves. When the line broke, the employee instinctively turned his back to the spray. The employee, who was also wearing FR clothing, was saturated up the backside and sustained second and third-degree burns from the exothermic reaction between the chemical used to make FR, FR, and the sodium hypochlorite.
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