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Construction worker risks life to get coworker from vat of acid

Colorado construction workers know that their jobs are dangerous and that it is very easy to become injured on the job. A workplace injury does more than just cost a lot in medical costs, but it can prevent an employee from working for days, weeks or longer. These lost wages make it difficult for the injured Denver worker to pay his or her bills and puts pressure on his or her family to make ends meet.

Although there are many different kinds of injuries that a construction worker may expect on the job, it is likely that not many in Denver would include falling 40 feet into a vat of acid as one. Unfortunately, that is just what has happened to a 44-year-old construction worker while he was working on the roof of a factory.

Investigators believe that the roof had been weakened by near constant exposure to acid steam. After falling through the weakened roof, the roofer fell 40 feet before fully submerging in the vat of diluted nitric acid. The Washington Post reports that the acid was diluted to a 40 to 70 percent concentration.

What happened next, however, is a true act of bravery. One of the 44-year-old's coworkers jumped into the vat to get him out. Three others helped the 51-year-old rescuer pull the man out of the acid and onto the factory floor. Both of the men who were in the acid sustained burns. The rescuer was burned on his abdomen and legs; the man who fell was burned on his side and legs. He also had a punctured lung and broken rib.

Source: The Washington Post, "Worker jumps into vat of nitric acid to save colleague who fell 40 feet into it," May 8, 2012

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