Toilet cleaners overcome by toxic fumes

15th of June 2011
Toilet cleaners overcome by toxic fumes

Three men cleaning a toilet were rushed to hospital after being overcome by toxic fumes. The Scottish dockyard workers were believed to be using hydrochloric acid for cleaning the toilet block at Leith Docks.

Ten emergency vehicles were called to the scene and firefighters wearing breathing masks pulled the men to safety.

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: "Three men had been using an acid cleaner in one of the toilet blocks and one had begun to feel unwell. He was treated at the scene for respiratory problems and a second man also appeared to be overcome by the fumes.

"All of them were taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh to be checked over."

Dilute hydrochloric acid has an "Irritant" classification but concentrations above 25 per cent by weight are classified as Corrosive. Inhalation of hydrochloric acid vapours can result in damage to the respiratory system.

Personal protective clothing is recommended when using hydrochloric acid and cleaning tasks should be carried out in well-ventilated area and under fume extraction.

The workers, aged between 64, 57 and 23, were carrying out the cleaning task at the premises of Bredero Shaw - a pipe-coating manufacturer that operates out of the docks - when they were overcome by fumes.


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