202437 Chemical burn due to inadequate PPE

23 Jun 2024 MARS

Cleaning procedures were in progress on a vessel’s empty holds. A solution of water and chemicals with a high alkaline value was being applied via a spray nozzle. Crew were protected with personal protective equipment (PPE) including chemical suits and rubber boots. 

One crew member’s chemical suit was somewhat short and there was insufficient overlap with the boots. During the cleaning process, spray droplets on the chemical suit trickled down the length of the suit and entered the boots. The crew member continued to work unperturbed. Later, when he removed the boots, he saw his feet had been burned by the alkaline solution.

Lessons learned

  • It would appear the crew did not realise the extent of the risk of exposure to the washing solution. High alkaline or acidic levels always require maximum protection and awareness.
  • The gap between the chemical suit and the boots was not noticed or was considered inconsequential. A STOP WORK action would have been appropriate if it had been noticed.