Home > Case Studies > Chemicals in My Eye Caused Partial Blindness: Case Study

Chemicals in My Eye Caused Partial Blindness: Case Study

By: Norman Thomson - Updated: 30 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Pain Goggles Eyes Job Protective

Just like most working days, this one started off exactly the same the others. It was a Friday, and I was looking forward to the weekend. I had planned on taking my ten year-old son to see his first football match, and both of us were getting quite excited about it.

Not the Weekend I Had Planned

The task I had been given on that Friday morning involved cleaning out chemical tanks in a paper-making factory. We use strong acids to clean the tanks, a job that is done twice every year. As usual, the supervisor reminded me that I needed to get dressed in a chemical suit and that safety goggles were mandatory.

As I was putting on the personal protective equipment, I noticed my safety goggles were badly worn; the rubber seals around the goggles had deteriorated badly. I went to the stores department to get a new pair, however the stores engineer was busy with someone else, and so I decided not to hang around waiting for him. One of the biggest mistakes of my life!

I set off to do the task – using the old goggles.

The job was progressing well. I was using a high pressure jet that contained a combination of water and sulphuric acid to clean the insides of the tank. As sure as day follows night, there is always a stubborn bit to get cleaned and I had to get really close to the walls of the tank to see if I had missed any bits. While inspecting the walls of the tank, I inadvertently pressed the trigger of the jet washer. Because I was so close the tank side, and because the jet of water was so strong, water hit the tank wall and splashed back onto my goggles.

It was one of those slow motion moments. At first everything seemed ok. No initial pain was a good thing. And then it all changed. The pain in my left eye started slowly, gradually building to a pain that I could only describe as that of a hot poker being thrust into my eye socket.

I quickly removed my personal protective clothing, including the goggles. Rushing to the emergency eye wash station I doused my whole face and eyes for five minutes. But each time I stopped the flow of water, the pain returned. Suffering no more pain, I called for help - two of my colleagues ran to provide assistance.

The Damage...

It is a slight pun, but the next 24 hours were really a blur for me and my family. I was taken to the local hospital, where doctors checked everything out. The medical teams that treated me decided I needed specialist care and transferred me to the specialist eye clinic. Visits from consultants and senior registrars and numerous technicians performing numerous tests occupied the next two days. Finally, the consultant told me the news – permanent scarring to the tissues of the left eye and permanent loss of sight in that eye.

How had I been so stupid? Actually, it is quite easy. It takes a moment to make a decision that will change your life forever. On that Friday morning I decided that it would take too long to get a new pair of goggles from the stores engineer, so I decided to use the existing pair. I knew they were badly damaged. It was that decision that changed my life forever. It was later concluded that the damaged seal on the goggles had allowed the chemical to get into my eye.

Personal protective equipment is there to help. It is important that such equipment is in good condition and, if it isn’t, then a task should not be started until replacement equipment is found. Had I waited for a new pair of goggles, my weekend would have probably progressed the way I had intended it – taking my son to that football match.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Kahl Kirton
    Re: Ventilation in the Workplace
    Hi I work in a factory of about 30 people so it is not a massive factory, but we have 7 cnc milling machine and 4 cnc turning…
    26 March 2020
  • Lee
    Re: Legal Minimum Temperature in a Warehouse?
    Hi i work in a warehouse that claims we are essential workers .But is lying and we will lose are jobs if do not…
    24 March 2020
  • Ire
    Re: General Office Safety
    Hi all I looking advice for situation at my work, I reach driver at big company, Last week all trucks been broken so all VOR one got…
    22 March 2020
  • Joe
    Re: Dealing with Employee Theft
    My manager was checking cctv footage of me on the shop floor i was gathering a few things to put to one side to pay for pay day…
    13 March 2020
  • Foodpreppie
    Re: Do I Need a Hygiene Certificate to Make Sandwiches?
    What is the correct room temperature for making up sandwiches please ? I know that they should be…
    10 March 2020
  • Fishy
    Re: How Many Breaks am I Entitled to?
    Some days i do 9 hours some 10 & some 12..in a busy kitchen in a dementia care home...what are my entitked breaks please?
    6 March 2020
  • Caroline
    Re: How Many Breaks am I Entitled to?
    I work a 12hr and told only allowed 30mins thoughout the day 10 mins morning break, 10 mins lunch break and 10mins afternoon…
    1 March 2020
  • None
    Re: Dangers of Dust in the Workplace
    I work in a school very large kitchen and a warehouse I get my supplies, I have been sick since I started there its been 7…
    26 February 2020
  • Pcoop
    Re: Forklift Truck Safety
    Is it ever possible to operate forks whilst not sat in the cab. Is it law that safety device must be in place to prevent this happening.…
    26 February 2020
  • Meeee
    Re: Dangers of Dust in the Workplace
    Hey I am 6 weeks pregnant I work in a printing factory ,the amount of the dust in this place is incredible! Every time I get…
    22 February 2020