A report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a chemical called hydrofluoric acid could be harmful to California workers and others all across the country. Between 2001 and 2013, it was revealed that 48 car wash workers in the state of Washington suffered burns after coming into contact with the substance. A 38-year-old Washington man died after ingesting the acid, but it isn’t clear if he took it intentionally. The substance is often used in car washes as a way to break down grime and brighten aluminum.
In some of the cases, the workers were injured because they had holes in their gloves or were not wearing any at the time they were burned. Typically, these workplace injuries occurred around the eyes, head and hands, and seven workers had to be hospitalized for serious burns. Of those hospitalized, two needed skin graft surgery.
The reason why some of the injuries may have been so severe is because of a delay in seeking treatment. At low concentrations, the workers may not have felt the substance make contact with their skin. Therefore, they did not seek treatment right away, and one man was covered in the acid for almost 90 minutes before he realized he had been burned. Although he survived, he had chronic numbness in his foot and received partial disability payments.
A person who suffers a burn injury as a result of a defective product or through the negligence of another individual may want to speak with a personal injury attorney to determine the most efficacious way of obtaining compensation. In some cases it may be advisable to file a civil lawsuit seeking damages from the responsible party.