Rifle man dies after accidental worksite poisoning
A metalworker died Aug. 6, two days after accidentally ingesting a highly toxic liquid he thought was an energy drink at an Old Snowmass work site.The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the job-site safety practices of Pitkin Iron, the Glenwood Springs company where Frank Gabossi III worked.Gabossi, a longtime resident of Rifle, was 53. On Friday, Aug. 4, he and a colleague went to a home on Snowmass Creek Road to work on a metal staircase, said Ron Ryan, investigator at the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.Around noon, Gabossi walked back to their truck and picked up a Gatorade bottle containing Antique Black. The bottle still had the drink label on it, and it was not marked as containing the agent, used to age metal. The substance, which is bright blue, contains selenous acid, which is highly corrosive and for which there is no antidote, Ryan said.Gabossi apparently swallowed half a mouthful before spitting out the other half. He immediately knew what had happened and told his co-worker, who drove him to Valley View Hospital. He was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, where he died.Gabossi’s death is considered an accident, and no criminal charges are planned, Ryan said.The men put the liquid into the smaller bottle for convenience; it is usually stored in five-gallon drums on the grounds of the Glenwood company.Selenous acid, which Ryan said is also common in “gun bluing” agents found in many homes, devastates the human body at the cellular level.Cells can’t perform normal functions related to energy production and expelling waste, leading to organ failure.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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