On saturday morning we had a terrible disaster at work which could have been considerably worse.
We run on wind power (and a back up *haha* generator) so we have a turbine, a battery room, a control room and a generator working together (haha again..)
It gives no end of grief, the whole system, and for the past week it's been the cells of the battery bank that have been misbehaving. In a way everyone is probably a bit too lax with it all because it never does what it should so issues arent always pulled up as soon as they should be...and this has been the biggest, most horrifying reminder to not be complacent.
We were working away in the cafe with a few tables of customers..and the power went off. Nothing abnormal in that...it's a regular occurence because we have no mains electricity and, the 'eco power' thing is a disaster. So we were in the process of waiting a few minutes to see if it would come back on by itself...the groundsman went racing past the window but he hears the 'power down' of the fan if he's nearby and runs to switch us back on so there was nothing abnormal in seeing him race past.
Seconds later the lad who helps on the estate came careering into the cafe shouting at us 'phone an ambulance, phone an ambulance, he's covered in acid'. Thank god P was super quick thinking and what we had seen as him running to fix our power was actually him hurdling everything in his path to get to the tap. He sat under the tap showering himself as D came to us for help. If he hadn't have thought like that god only knows how bad it could have been.
We had ambulance, fire engines, police and even a specialist unit. Amazingly, his quick thinking meant that he didn't need specialist treatment.
It was such a shock. I can't even put into words what goes through your mind. We're such a small team...there were only the 4 of us working...it was petrifying. I was left to mind the customers so I didn't even know how he was, how bad it was. I have no first aid training so was of no use.
He was so lucky. He was back in work today and told us what had happened. He had switched on the water heating then poked his head into the room with the battery bank to check it was all okay. The troublesome cell was making a noise so he had put his hand on it to feel if it was hot. When he touched it, the cell exploded, showering him in sulfuric acid. It must have been building up insane pressure because it covered the entire room and destroyed the casing. He has burns on his left arm because he had held the hose in that hand when washing himself off and missed that area of acid. He got it all in the face and he is so incredibly lucky that it wasn't worse.
I'm so glad that he was so calm and sensible. The way it was handled made the difference between something really bad and something which served as a severe warning.
Never get complacent around something which has the potential to be so incredibly dangerous. We'd been joking the day before that we'd come to work and find him melted in the battery room with only his boots left...
In other news, I am still alive and well. I have been keeping a low profile because I have been busy with engineering placements.
My final report is due to be submitted this friday so after that I will be free to get on with my writing.
My new story is where my prime focus is right now but I am working on everything as and when I have ideas...I have no rigid plans...I just go with the flow.