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Govt to investigate after another trash collector is hurt by acid

Another garbage collector was hospitalised for treatment after he inhaled muriatic acid fumes that erupted from residential garbage.

The incident occurred yesterday afternoon, during residential garbage collection at the east end.

It was the second such incident in the space of a week.

Public Works Minister Trevor Moniz confirmed the acid splashed on the workman and damaged his lungs. The worker was interviewed by police and a full-scale investigation is now underway.

At a press conference the Minister called on residents “to be mindful to dispose of trash in appropriate ways” especially with potentially hazardous wastes that should be dropped off at the Tynes Bay Incinerator.

Said Mr Moniz: “We’ve been very lucky so far but to have such incidents in a week is an indicator of a very sloppy approach by some members of the public to what is potentially a very dangerous circumstance.

“In both of these circumstances the liquid is presumed to be muriatic acid which has a variety of uses but is an extremely dangerous substance if it comes into contact with people, with their lungs if they breathe in the gas or their eyes,” he said.

Solid waste manager Allan Hunt warned that this incident is “something that can have a devastating effect on personnel”. And he lamented the fact that incidents like this put all garbage collectors at risk.

“When it is put into the truck by collectors it is compacted and at that moment the bottle, or whatever the carrier is, can explode under pressure. And when this happens the reaction with other waste creates a gas, or it could a liquid spray, but it is very dangerous.”

Mr Hunt added that the employee was treated by first responders in St George’s before he was taken to the hospital’s Emergency Ward. He also confirmed that a police investigation is now underway. He stressed however, that it is not being treated as a deliberate incident.

Both the Minister and Mr Hunt reiterated that potentially hazardous wastes should be dropped off at the incinerator plant.

Said Mr Hunt: “If you have any doubt about the waste stream you can call 278-0560 and we can direct you to the proper facility or we will come and collect it. But please do not put it into your general waste. And so we are asking the general public to please take note and be very careful about what you put in your waste.”

The Ministry issued a public advisory on Monday after two garbage collectors were sprayed with acid while collecting garbage around 10am last Friday. Both men received hospital treatment and were later released.

To learn more about waste disposal in Bermuda visit www.wastemanagement.gov.bm

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Published April 20, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 19, 2013 at 11:56 pm)

Govt to investigate after another trash collector is hurt by acid

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