Did he drink a sports drink or an acid?

The recent edition of Minnesota Safety Lines relates a fatality report: an employee drank what he thought was a sports drink–the label and bottle were that of a sports drink (Gatorade), the contents were a light blue liquid and it was near the cooler with employee lunches.  Unfortunately, it was an acid, according to the OSHA fatality report .  The employee was brought to a hospital, but died two days later.

Unfortunately, this method of storing liquids is fairly common. It’s easy to take the nearest container to hand – and how many empty beverage containers do you have in your workplace? We ran across one just recently on a walkthrough. Can you tell in this picture if there is that Gatoraid or antifreeze in that bottle?

Unknown Liquid

We do not recommend using food containers for chemicals–they can often be confused.  If you re-use any containers, make sure you take off or cover the original label and relabel the container with the correct contents.  What may seem obvious to one person, often is not obvious to the next.  Fatalities happen in a split second, but you can help prevent them.

If you have questions on labeling, RIght to Know, hazard communication, material safety data sheets or other safety issues, please contact CHESS.

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