Michigan Worker Dies After Falling Into Vat of Hot Sulphuric Acid

February 12, 2019 Updated: February 12, 2019

A worker has died after falling into a vat of sulphuric acid at a pipe supply factory in Michigan.

The 54-year-old man from South Lyon was identified as Daniel Hill by local media, affectionately known as “Moose” to his friends.

Police are investigating the incident at Michigan Seamless Tube plant, which occurred on Feb. 9 when Hill fell into a vat of sulphuric acid at a temperature of around 160 degrees.

He was found by a co-worker fully submerged, reported Hometown Life.

It is unclear how long he was submerged before co-coworkers were able to pull him out and and rush him to the hospital, where he died of burns a few hours later.

According to Michigan Seamless Tube’s website, the company creates boiler tubes, mechanical tubes and pipes.

A statement from Michigan Seamless Tube, via ClickonDetroit, said, “A valued Michigan Seamless Tube employee was involved in a serious industrial accident on Saturday afternoon. The employee was taken to the University of Michigan Hospital at Ann Arbor. He did not survive his injuries and passed away at the hospital.”

Michigan Seamless Tube plant in South Lyon, Michigan (Screenshot/Googlemaps)

“The company is conducting a comprehensive investigation of the accident and is cooperating with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration,” continued the statement.

“We don’t believe there was any foul play or criminal matter to investigate,” South Lyon Police Chief Chris Sovik told WWJ News Radio.

Sovik told Hometown Life he was not aware of any previous chemical vat accidents at the business, but did note that a machine accident there resulted in the death of an employee several years ago.

The accident is not a criminal investigation, he said.

Hill’s obituary described him as “a loving husband, a wonderful father, and the best grandfather to his grandchildren, which he called ‘his little angels.'”

“Daniel was very generous to everyone he met and a very dedicated, hard worker. He served in the Army in the motor pool and was proud of his service. He loved fishing and boating during his free time and had a passion for animals, especially dogs.” 

“Daniel was affectionately known as ‘Moose’ and will be missed by all who knew him.”

Dangerous Acids

When chemical like sulphuric or hydraulic acid hits the skin, it kills off the tissue in a way similar to a burn from a heat source. Acid is such a dangerous substance that it’s become a go-to weapon for London gang members in recent years.

The UK has one of the highest rates of acid attacks in the world, driven in part by gangs who are trying to build fearsome reputations while avoiding the legal penalty of being caught with a knife. Acid attacks have long been common in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East and are on the rise in some developing nations. But the recent trend in the UK appears unique among developed countries.

In June 2017, a woman died from sepsis after being burned with sulfuric acid during a robbery gone wrong.

Dr. Simon Harding, an expert on gangs, said stop-and-search methods of law enforcement may help reduce attacks by those who “casually” carry acid as an alternative to a knife for protection.

Katie Piper
Katie Piper, who was scarred in an acid attack, attends an event at Wembley Arena on March 7, 2018 in London, England. (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

“But those carrying out acid attacks are often a certain type of individual who is motivated by something very powerful—usually some form of revenge,” said Harding, who is an associate professor in criminology at the University of West London. The new proposals would be little deterrent to those people, he said.

Follow Simon on Twitter: @SPVeazey