Chemical burns by acrylic acid and other materials can result in severe burns, hospitalization, or worse. When working with chemicals, check for proper ventilation, wear appropriate PPE, and perform all necessary checks of the environment.

Incident Flash – 03/19/2015 – Occupational Safety
BYC, Nianjing (China)
Chemical burns by acrylic acid

Course of events:
An acrylic acid (AA) flowmeter had been reinstalled after calibration. When AA was introduced to fill the flowmeter, AA spurted from the vent pipe and splashed on three supervising employees. After immediate washing and first aid, they were sent to the hospital. One suffered severe acid burns to his face, neck, and eyes and was hospitalized. The other two had minor chemical burns and returned to work after treatment on that day.

Improper construction of vent pipe outlet to open area.
No label clearly showing open/close status for vent pipe valve.
Vent pipe valve was left open.
No careful check before putting the flowmeter into use.
The injured stood in a dangerous location facing the vent pipe.

Corrective Action:
Reconstruct the vent pipe outlet in a safe direction.
Communicate lessons learned to plant and contractor personnel.
Careful inspection before starting up operations.
Operator should stand in safe place during equipment start-up.