An aerospace worker suffered chemical burns to his eyelid in an accident at work.
The 39 year old man – whose name has not been published – was working at Inflite Engineering Ltd when the incident happened. He suffered the devastating eye injury at the company’s premises in Chelmsford during November last year.
He had been tasked with cleaning a large tank and was stood inside it to perform the work. The tank contained a solid crystalline material. The material primarily consisted of sodium hydroxide – a.k.a. caustic soda – that had solidified.
The man was wearing a protective mask whilst he was chipping away at the solid material. When this mask steamed up, he took it off to give it a clean. During this moment a few crystals of the caustic soda flicked onto his eyelid causing chemical burn injuries to his eyelid and tear duct.
The company has been in front of Magistrates at Chelmsford this week in regards to the accident last year. This was after a prosecution was brought about by the Health and Safety Executive. They were fined £17,000 after pleading guilty to breaking the Health and Safety Act.
A HSE inspector stated that the firm had not adequately assessed the risks of the work or provided adequate safety control measures. As well as the risk of chemical burns, workers were faced with the risk of falling into an adjacent uncovered tank that contained sodium cyanide.