Failure to Remove Contaminated Clothing Exacerbates Chemical Burns

There have been several incidents, usually involving phenol, where laboratory workers spilled a chemical on his or her pants. In all cases, the worker bypassed the safety shower and entered a restroom to remove the pants and rinse the leg. In each case, the worker put the contaminated pants back on and either went home to rinse further or went to  the University Health Center. All resulted in second degree burns that could have been minimized by taking off the contaminated clothing and rinsing immediately using a safety shower or drench hose.
  • Remove contaminated clothing while rinsing.

  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including a closed lab coat when working with hazardous materials.

  • Do not put contaminated clothing back on.

  • Wash clothing separately or discard. Many chemicals can permeate leather. Discard any contaminated leather items.