Maintenance Mechanic Dies After Being Burned by Hot Boric Acid Solution While Removing Pump, Washington
Washington Case Report: 18WA052
Release Date: July 10, 2018
The following report is the product of our Cooperative State partner and is presented here in its original unedited form from the state. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the individual Cooperative State partner and do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
In July 2012, a 64-year-old maintenance mechanic at an aluminum foil processing facility died after being exposed to an approximately 180-degree Fahrenheit solution of boric acid and water while trying to remove a recirculation pump from its housing.
The pump was part of a boric acid evaporation system. Workers believed that the system had been completely drained. As the victim and other workers used two 1.5-ton “come-along” puller devices to free the pump from its housing, a small amount of hot water/boric acid solution fanned out from around the seal. Seconds later, the force of the solution pushed the pump out of the housing, and hundreds of gallons of hot liquid flowed out. The victim fell to the floor and was covered with the solution. He was wearing no personal protective equipment other than safety glasses, and received severe burns to over 80% of his body. He died two days later due to his injuries.