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New Jersey worker sustains injuries after falling into acid

A New Jersey man suffered from serious injuries last week after he unexpectedly fell through a roof into a vat of acid. He was working on a roof replacement job at a factory in Clifton when the area where he was standing gave way. The man fell about 40 feet and landed in a tank of nitric acid that the factory uses to clean metal tubing.

The man reportedly broke a rib, punctured his leg, and experienced acid burns on parts of his body. Witnesses say his injuries may have been much worse had his coworkers not acted quickly to get him out of the acid. Early versions of the event indicated that one of the other workers jumped into the tank to help him out, but that person has denied that he entered the acid.

This accident shows just how unpredictable working on a construction site can be. The incident occurred on the first day of the repair work on the roof, and the employees may not have known that there was a risk of falling into acid.

In New Jersey, workers who are injured in construction site accidents are eligible for workers’ compensation, which allows recovery even if investigators are unable to determine who was at fault for the accident.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) went to the scene of the accident and began an investigation. There may be some issues in this case because it appears that the contractor did not have a building permit for that site at the time of the accident. This could indicate that the employer was negligent in securing a safe premise for its workers.

Source: NorthJersey.com, “Update: Co-workers rescue man from vat of acid,” Marlene Naanes, Richard Cowen and Hannan Adely, May 7, 2012.

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