IBJNews

Acid spill at west-side Rolls-Royce plant under investigation

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration plans to investigate an acid spill that injured nine workers on Friday at a Rolls-Royce aircraft-engine assembly plant near the Indianapolis International Airport.

IOSHA spokesman Bob Dittmer said the agency is likely to start the investigation Monday. It could take up to three months before official findings are released, he said.

The workers were injured when a tank of nitric acid exploded and filled the building with a cloud of corrosive vapor, officials said.

None of the workers suffered life-threatening injuries when the 250-gallon tank exploded about 1:30 p.m., Capt. Mike Pruitt of the Wayne Township Fire Department said. The explosion released a vapor cloud that left the workers with burns and breathing problems.

"Their main complaints were that they had inhaled it and they had some acid burns. It's a corrosive acid," he said.

Pruitt said eight workers were taken to local hospitals and released Friday night. The ninth person was treated at the scene.

The cause of the explosion — and how much acid was released — remains under investigation by Rolls-Royce and fire officials, Pruitt said. He said the injured workers will be interviewed to determine how the explosion may have occurred and what they were doing before the blast.

The plant, at 2355 S. Tibbs Ave., hasn't had any safety violations since 2011, according to IOSHA records, and those violations were minor and unrelated to acid storage or treatment. 

The plant was evacuated immediately after the explosion, but the vapor later dissipated and Rolls-Royce staff members were allowed back inside.

Rolls-Royce spokesman Joel Reuter said the tank containing the acid exploded either as it was being moved or shortly after it had been moved by a device used to transport equipment inside the plant.

"We're still determining whether it was actually moving or what, but it was in some in type of transportation mode," he said.

Rolls-Royce canceled the plant's remaining Friday shifts, but Saturday's shifts were scheduled to proceed as planned.

He said the plant's workers assemble engines for military and commercial aircraft.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says nitric acid is corrosive and the vapor or mist form can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and skin. High concentrations of vapor can severely burn the eyes and skin.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Can your dog sign a marriage license or personally state that he wishes to join you in a legal union? If not then no, you cannot marry him. When you teach him to read, write, and speak a discernible language, then maybe you'll have a reasonable argument. Thanks for playing!

  2. Look no further than Mike Rowe, the former host of dirty jobs, who was also a classically trained singer.

  3. Current law states income taxes are paid to the county of residence not county of income source. The most likely scenario would be some alteration of the income tax distribution formula so money earned in Marion co. would go to Marion Co by residents of other counties would partially be distributed to Marion co. as opposed to now where the entirety is held by the resident's county.

  4. This is more same-old, same-old from a new generation of non-progressive 'progressives and fear mongers. One only needs to look at the economic havoc being experienced in California to understand the effect of drought on economies and people's lives. The same mindset in California turned a blind eye to the growth of population and water needs in California, defeating proposal after proposal to build reservoirs, improve water storage and delivery infrastructure...and the price now being paid for putting the demands of a raucous minority ahead of the needs of many. Some people never, never learn..

  5. I wonder if I can marry him too? Considering we are both males, wouldn't that be a same sex marriage as well? If they don't honor it, I'll scream discrimination just like all these people have....

ADVERTISEMENT