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    "If you've been injured through no fault of your own you could be entitled to compensation. If you're unsure if you could claim, I recommend you call Accident Advice Helpline."

    Esther Rantzen

    Laboratory accidents: hazardous chemicals


    Laboratory accidents: hazardous chemicals

    The presence of hazardous chemicals makes laboratories a dangerous place to be. Often of a corrosive nature and/or highly toxic, such chemicals can cause all sorts of working accidents leading to personal injuries, from explosions and chemical burns caused by splashes or spills to severe allergic reactions to organic materials.

    Hazardous chemicals and accidents at work

    While allergic reactions and their severity partially depend on the individual affected (some people are more prone to such reactions than others), work accidents involving corrosive materials will affect everyone in the same manner. On contact with eyes or skin, the chemical reacts with the structure, cells and molecules of the skin and eyes, and subsequently modifies or destroys them either partially or completely.

    Acids likely to cause injuries at work

    Careless handling resulting in splashing of acids onto skin or into the eyes, or spills of the same left unattended, for example, account for a great deal of workrelated injuries in laboratories. Inorganic acids likely to cause chemical burns include, for example:

    • Sulphuric acid;
    • Phosphoric acid;
    • Perchloric acid;
    • Nitric acid;
    • Hydrofluoric acid;
    • Hydrochloric acid; and
    • Chromic acid.

    Organic acids prone to cause similar effects consist predominantly of:

    • Trichloroacetic acid;
    • Salicylic acid;
    • Phenol;
    • Oxalic acid;
    • Glacial acetic acid;
    • Formic acid; and
    • Butyric acid.

    Oxidising agents and inorganic bases

    Many other industrial injuries occurring in laboratories are the result of incidents involving inorganic bases like:

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    • Sodium hydroxide;
    • Potassium hydroxide;
    • Calcium oxide;
    • Calcium hydroxide; and
    • Ammonium hydroxide.

    Oxidising agents are also often responsible for more or less severe chemical burns. Here, substances responsible for injuries at work may consist of:

    • Perchloric acid;
    • Nitric acid;
    • Fluorine;
    • Chromic acid;
    • Chlorine; and
    • Bromine.

    Other materials likely to cause workplace injuries include compounds like tin chloride, potassium chromate, phosphorus pentoxide and phosphorous trichloride. In addition to their corrosive nature, many of these chemicals are also highly toxic and, unless injuries are dealt with and treated immediately, may cause delayed and often severe effects.

    Claiming industrial injury compensation

    If you were injured no more than three years ago in a laboratory accident due to the fault of another person, you may be eligible for work injury compensation. No win no fee* claims can be initiated easily by calling Accident Advice Helpline, a law firm with years of experience in dealing with personal injury claims, on 0800 689 0500.

    Date Published: January 2, 2014

    Author: David Brown

    Accident Advice Helpline (or AAH) is a trading style of Slater Gordon Solutions Legal Limited. Slater Gordon Solutions Legal Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with registration number 07931918, VAT 142 8192 16, registered office Dempster Building, Atlantic Way, Brunswick Business Park, Liverpool, L3 4UU and is an approved Alternative Business Structure authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

    Disclaimer: This website contains content contributed by third parties, therefore any opinions, comments or other information expressed on this site that do not relate to the business of AAHDL or its associated companies should be understood as neither being held or endorsed by this business.

    No-Win No-Fee: *Subject to insurance costs. Fee payable if case not pursued at client's request.