It's time to take what you've learned in the other modules and put it all together by analyzing the facts surrounding an actual accident that occurred in Oregon few years ago (Names have been changed). In answering the questions, we'll get involved with uncovering management weaknesses in the employer's hazard communication program, and in problems with overall safety leadership. Read through the scenario below and answer the questions.
XYZ Power Wash uses dilute hydrofluoric acid (HF), a clear, colorless liquid with mild detergent odor, to wash industrial vehicles with a mobile pressurized cleaning system. The company has seven employees. In cleaning operations, the company mainly uses dilute HF (0.1%) at all their operations. However, a few contracts require the use of concentrated HF (4 - 10%) to provide better brightening of aluminum truck parts.
The victim, Mr. Jones, stated he had received severe chemical burns on his hands during a powerwash operation in the pit area at Jupiter Equipment Company while preparing to clean heavy equipment. Jupiter Transport did not want Mr. Jones to use the XYZ concentration, but rather their own concentration at 10% HF.
While filling a garden sprayer with the 10% HF Mr. Jones accidentally splashed it on his gloves and forearms. Mr. Jones stated that, since he did not feel any pain, or stinging, he did not worry about getting his hands wet.
According to Mr. Jones, later that evening, his hand and forearm began to ache. Eventually he hurt so much that he went to the local hospital emergency room where he received immediate treatment for HF burns. However, due to the delayed treatment, he suffered severe damage to tissue and the bones of his hand. (Flourosis of the bone: fluorine ions replace calcium in the bone.) As a result, part of his hand had to be amputated.
Mr. Smith, the employer, stated that Mr. Jones had received training on the safe handling of HF and was informed to wear gloves when working with the concentrated HF. However, he states that Mr. Jones was not wearing gloves when the accident occurred. No written documentation of training could be located.
Mr. Smith provided a statement by Mr. Bill, of Jupiter Transport stating he observed the above incident and warned Mr. Jones to wear gloves while handling HF.
Mr. Jones stated that he had never been provided hazard communication training on this or any other chemical used by XYZ and denies speaking to Mr. Bill at the time of his accident.
Employee interviews substantiate Mr. Jones' claim that hazard communication training was not being accomplished. No SDS was on hand at either XYZ or Jupiter. No eye wash or shower facilities were available in the vicinity of the area where employees handle 10% HF.
Read the module exercise and complete the assignments below in your own words. Submit your assignments and compare your answers with the "book" answers.