Chemicals in Steel Toe Boot cause Burns (KV 192)


What Happened?

At 4:00 p.m. on June 21st, 2018, three drilling employees were taking turns trying to break loose a bolt. The employees had to go into the cellar to get at the bolt. It started raining and the employee's leather steel toe boots got wet. The cellar had been cleaned prior to the employees entering but residual well water and chemicals mixed with the rain water. The employees did not have spare boots nor rubber boots and continued to work overnight in their saturated boots. The next morning all three employees complained of skin irritation. Two employees were treated for minor chemical burns to their feet and released. The third employee had 3rd degree chemical burns to his feet.

Contributing Factors

Employees did not have access to spare boots.

What Can We Learn?


Questioning Attitude: Had they known of the prior night’s cleaning, the employees could have asked: “what is the worst thing that is most likely to happen to me or my peer?.” This would have caused them to stop and think about the consequences of continuing work without the proper PPE.

Were the proper Procedures used by the cleaning crew to inform the drillers of the hazardous environment?


The Physical Environment was not ready for the drillers to begin work due to the remaining residue well water and chemicals.    

Ask the Right Questions

How does this relate to our work?

Where do we have similar traps?

What Tools can we use to avoid a similar incident?

Was a stop work point missed?