Sarah Harvey

USQ to conduct safety review after acid burns woman's face

THE University of Southern Queensland is conducting a review into its safety procedures after a staff member had nitric acid splashed on her face in a laboratory accident.

The technical officer sustained chemical burns to her face and neck after she dropped a bottle of acid while working in a chemistry lab on Friday afternoon.

The bottle smashed and some acid was splashed onto the woman's face and neck. She was placed in a safety shower by colleagues and taken to Toowoomba Hospital by ambulance.

She was released from hospital on Friday night, but was advised to seek further medical treatment.

USQ director of corporate communication Aidan Burke said yesterday that an internal safety review of all procedures would be undertaken as a result of the accident.

"The staff member was preparing for a science experiment and had followed all safety procedures in line with USQ's safe handling procedures. It appears however the bottle of nitric acid accidentally slipped from the staff member's hands.

"The staff member was wearing appropriate personal protective equipment at the time however some acid did splash on to her face and neck area.

"Emergency procedures were followed very quickly and effectively by the other staff in the area and the individual was placed into a nearby safety shower.

"The quick action by others in irrigating the skin significantly reduced more serious injury occurring.

"USQ undertakes rigorous safety handling of all dangerous substances and will carry out an internal safety review of all procedures in light of Friday's accident."