Interview with Carlos Arellanos, Occupational health physician in Mexico: ‘Thanks to Diphoterine® solution, there were no sequela’
Occupational health physician in a chemical plant in Monterrey, Mexico, Carlos Arellanos has already been confronted with numerous accidents, including one that was serious where Diphoterine® solution played a key role.
PREVOR: What’s your background and what type of factory do you work in?
Carlos Arellanos: I’m an occupational health physician at Solvay. It is a chemical plant that employs 300 people and produces alkalis and acids. There’s obviously a risk of chemical splashes. I have a lot of experience with chemical issues and have had the opportunity to use HSE Solutions’s emergency solutions, like Diphoterine® solution. I can help people needing help.
PREVOR: What chemicals are present on site?
CA: Solvay Mexico produces Strontium Nitrate, Strontium Sulphide, Sulphate, handles Nitric Acid, and, of course, transfers all of that into pipes and tanks.
PREVOR: How do you manage a situation where a worker is splashed by a chemical?
CA: We all know the protocol for the timely use of the solution in emergency situations. People on site are well trained. When these accidents happen, I know that the managers know how to handle them. I work nine hours a day and cannot be there all the time if an accident happens.
PREVOR: How is the protocol taught?
CA: Workers follow vocational training. As part of the workplace accident protocol, we recall the use of Diphoterine® solution with its set of DAP, Minidap, Microdap, and eyewash, in critical areas. All operators, supervisors, and managers are trained. Luckily, we are supported by our distributor in Mexico. They come to Monterrey once a year for a conference.
PREVOR: How does Diphoterine® solution help Solvay employees on a daily basis?
CA: I’ve used it about 27 times over fifteen years. We have to deal with strong alkalis and acids. These are the biggest risks here. On average, there are one or two accidents per year because the people on site are well protected and know how to handle these hazardous products. These accidents did not generate any disability or sequelae.
PREVOR: Regarding eyes, are you satisfied with this solution?
CA: In ten years, we have had five cases of chemical splashes to the eyes. Diphoterine® solution has worked really well each time. There are a lot of stations located all over the factory, so workers don’t waste time looking for them in an emergency.
“I’ve found this solution effective in assisting someone needing help after an accident.”
PREVOR: Is Diphoterine® solution valuable to rinse and treat a worker in time?
CA: Yes, I’ve found this solution effective in assisting someone needing help after an accident. Even if accidents are infrequent, it’s always reassuring to know that you can count on a product that’s easy to apply and can counter the sharp pains caused by these chemical burns.
PREVOR: Have you ever had any serious cases?
CA: In 2018, we had an alarming case, due to the temperature of the product, involving the foot of one of our workers. Strontium sulphide (SrS), at 80°C, had entered his work boot, aggravating the injury with a thermal burn. Diphoterine® solution was used (outside of the appropriate protocol time) for this chemical burn and as a result, the chemical didn’t penetrate any deep tissue. This avoided more serious damage. We had to bring in a plastic surgeon for the thermal burn, and a skin transplant to the back of the foot was necessary, but, ultimately, there were no complications. According to the surgeon, if we hadn’t used Diphoterine® solution, the employee could have lost his foot due to tissue necrosis. He’s still working at the factory now.