Worker splashed with acid, flown to hospital
CENTER TOWNSHIP — A worker was splashed with hydrochloric acid solution late Thursday at the Halliburton Energy Services plant along Lucerne Road and was sent by medical helicopter to a hospital for treatment, officials said.
The worker was exposed to the chemical just after 11:30 p.m. when the acid spilled in a loading area at the plant, said Thomas Stutzman, director of Indiana County Emergency Management Agency.
The spill involved 50 gallons of the acid, according to a spokeswoman at Halliburton’s media relations office in Houston. The spokeswoman said the man works for ISSI International Steel Suppliers Incorporated.
The worker immediately showered to decontaminate himself of the acid, then was treated by Citizens’ Ambulance Service paramedics and sent by Stat MedEvac helicopter to Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh.
“As soon as he got splashed he got deconned, but we wanted to make sure he hadn’t ingested or got any in his eyes,” Stutzman said.
Officials did not provide the worker’s name.
ICEMA’s hazardous materials team and the Homer City volunteer fire department responded to the spill at 11:46 p.m. to assess and help in the cleanup. A crew from the fire department was sent at midnight to mark a landing area for the medical helicopter along Route 119 near Route 56 in Homer City.
Stutzman said the acid was held to a concrete paved containment area that, by design, prevented any from draining off the company site or reaching any waterways.
“We notified other industries in area that were operating at that hour to shut their doors and air intakes because the chemical could create a cloud,” Stutzman said.
That step was taken as a precaution and no evacuation was necessary, he said.
Halliburton’s own cleanup crew used sodium bicarbonate to neutralize the acid as part of the cleanup process, he said.
Employees at the Halliburton office on Lucerne Road referred questions to the company’s media relations office at the corporate headquarters in Houston.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story edited at 3:55 p.m. to include information provided by Halliburton representative.