Chemical Causes Permanent Eye Damage For GMB Member

5 Dec 2009

The injury occurred when sodium hydroxide, a powerful alkali, leaking from a broken pipe and dripped onto his eye, causing permanent corneal damage. His eyelid turned inwards and he needed surgery to remove the hair follicles. The 59-year-old, who already suffered from poor sight in his left eye since birth, now suffers from excessive dryness in the injured eye and he can no longer safely drive at night. Ciba Speciality Chemicals admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Tim Roache, GMB Regional Secretary said: ‘This accident was caused by the employer failing to introduce a robust inspection programme to make sure its pipes were maintained. All employers, particularly those working with dangerous chemicals, must ensure they take all the necessary steps to keep their employees safe.’

Michael Disken from Thompsons Solicitors, the law firm brought in by GMB to act in the case, said: ‘Sodium hydroxide is a dangerous and highly corrosive chemical. A burn to the eye causes permanent damage and can cause blindness. Our client was fortunate he has been able to recover some of his sight, but that does not make up for the fact that he must now live with this disability for the rest of his life.’