At a Selbyville, Delaware, Mountaire poultry processing plant, a 34-year-old man sustained major facial trauma and chemical burns when a chemical reaction caused an explosion.
The employee was working a cleanup shift around 3 a.m. on Feb. 9 when he inadvertently mixed two cleaning chemicals in a 2.5 gallon sprayer. The chemical reaction caused pressure build-up within the sprayer, resulting in an explosion that inflicted minor damage to the room and life-threatening damage to the worker’s face.
Emergency responders arrived at the scene soon after.
“He was critical at that point,” Fire Chief Matt Sliwa of the Selbyville Volunteer Fire Company told Coastal Point. “They wanted to try and fly him to shock-trauma at some point.” Severe weather and high winds prevented the flight, so the man was driven to Peninsula Regional Medical Center.
“We end up at Mountaire on a fairly regular basis, but it’s for the regular ambulance call,” Sliwa added.
Mountaire employs hundreds of people for each shift, so minor injuries such as bruises, cuts or chest pains are not uncommon. Sliwa also noted that his team had responded to a minor fire on the roof of the poultry plant a few years ago as well as a “series of anhydrous ammonia chemical leaks”.
Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Harry Miller said the man would likely be sent to a shock-trauma or another burn unit afterward. “We know they have a long process [for recovery] with facial burns.”
On-the-job injuries can often be a life-altering event. According to a recent press release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of fatal occupational injuries in 2015 was the highest in seven years.
Source: Coastal Point