chemistry bottles with liquid insideFox 13 reported that an independent contractor sustained second and third degree burns on his feet and ankle. The man was working in a vat containing 95 percent sulfuric acid solution at the facility located at 11600 West and SR-201 in Magna. The facility was identified as Kennecott Smelter.

The man was Life Flighted to the hospital and reported to be in serious condition.

An occupational Safety website listed the physical and chemical characteristics of sulfuric acid. According to the article, sulfuric acid is a clear colorless oily liquid. It is also odorless and will not burn. The acid is considered very toxic and fatal if inhaled. It can form very hazardous decomposition products. Sulfuric acid is highly reactive and incompatible with many common chemicals. It reacts violently with water and is corrosive. The acid causes severe skin burns and eye damage. Skin contact can cause pain, redness, burns, and blistering. Permanent scarring can result. A severe exposure can cause death.

Recommended handling tips include the following:

• Avoid generating vapors or mists.
• Immediately report leaks, spills or failures of the safety equipment (e.g. ventilation system).
• Prevent accidental contact with incompatible chemicals.
• Never add water to a corrosive. Always add corrosives slowly to COLD water.
• If product is transferred to another container, ensure new container is suitable for the product.
• Never reuse empty containers, even if they appear to be clean.

Store the acid in an area that is cool, dry, out of direct sunlight and away from heat and ignition sources. Store it separately from incompatible materials. Avoid bulk storage indoors. Regularly inspect for physical changes or signs of crystallization, damage or leaks.

It is recommended that when working with sulfuric acid that the worker to wear chemical safety goggles and a face shield. To protect the skin, wear suitable chemical protective clothing such as gloves, aprons and boots.

We encourage everyone to use safety precautions when handing toxic and hazardous chemicals. If you have work related concerns and have sustained personal injury resulting from the carelessness of others, call us at (801) 506-0800 for a free consultation.

Original article by Britanny Green-Miner.

Photo courtesy of zhouxuan.