A steelworker was hospitalized on 21 February after falling into a vat of acid at a Liberty Steel plant in Bartonville, Illinois.

Sources say the worker slipped and fell into a large vat of acid at the plant, and was then hospitalized and eventually life-flighted to Springfield Memorial Hospital’s burn unit. The hospital says he was admitted around 9pm on 21 February. A source close to the family says the man is in critical but stable condition, with second and third-degree burns covering 80% of his body.

“Rescue needed at Liberty Steel,” a dispatcher said in a scanner communication. “Male with acid spilled over his entire body. He fell into a tank. They pulled him out of the tank. He is completely covered. He did ingest some. He is conscious.”

“We’re working closely with safety regulators to understand what took place.”

Spokesperson, Liberty Steel & Wire

Liberty Steel & Wire confirmed a worker was hospitalized, sending a statement on 22 February. “We’re working closely with safety regulators to understand what took place,” the statement said. “At the same we’re offering our full support to our colleague, his family and his co-workers at the Peoria site.”

An Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) spokesperson confirms they have opened an investigation into the incident and are currently conducting interviews to ‘determine whether the company was following OSHA standards and regulations.’ The spokesperson adds they have six months to complete their investigation.