A 'complacent' dad who didn't wear protective goggles at work has revealed horrifying footage of having his eyeballs washed for hours — after chemicals sprayed in his face.
William Henderson was stripping wax from a church floor on November 22 without wearing the essential PPE when the handles on a box containing the chemicals snapped, spraying the corrosive fluid into his face.
The screaming 43-year-old, who was wearing prescription glasses, was rushed to the church washroom by a volunteer cleaner who heard his cries.
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The flooring technician said his glasses 'melted off his face' from the chemicals as the volunteer desperately tried to rinse his eyes out in the shower using eye wash before calling 911.
The dad-of-five was rushed to hospital by ambulance where eye specialists assessed the injury, gave him pain relief and he underwent eye irrigation.
The procedure involves saline eyewash solution being flushed around the eyeball via tubes inserted inside the eyelids.
Footage, filmed by his 37-year-old medical technician wife Katie Henderson, shows William undergoing the grim-looking procedure that he credits, along with wearing his glasses, for saving his sight.
Now he is urging anyone who works with highly corrosive materials to never be 'complacent' and always wear the right safety equipment.
William, from North Carolina, US, said: "It was extremely painful from the very beginning.
"It felt like my face was instantly on fire. At the same time, it felt like my face was shrinking. It took off the first layer of skin on my lips immediately.
"I had two colleagues with me, but they were in another room. As soon as it happened I was just screaming and they came running.
"A church cleaner turned on the shower and started running water over my whole body, but mainly my head. She ran to an area and got some eyewash and immediately started pouring that into my eyeballs. I don't know her, but she was definitely a face saver.
"My vision wasn't completely gone, but it was terrible for about three or four hours."
The flooring technician was working on a job at Hope Community Church in Apex, North Carolina when the accident happened and was taken to Wake Medical hospital in Raleigh.
William said: "In the video I'm calm but on the inside, I was breaking down like a nervous wreck. I was thinking 'oh my god I'm gonna lose my eyes, my face is going to be permanently damaged'".
Recalling how it felt, he added: "It was a weird feeling, obviously no one wants anything sticking out their face.
"It was like I was in a swimming pool with my eyes open, under a faucet. I felt like an alien.
Katie filmed the incident as a warning to others, William explained: "My wife came immediately, she was there when they were wheeling me in and by my side the whole time.
"She thought it was weird at first, seeing they were putting these lenses with water in my eyes.
"Of course, she was freaking out, worried to death, but she [filmed it because she] wanted people to know the dangers of things and what can happen if you get chemicals in your eyes."
The 43-year-old said specialists at the hospital told him that if he hadn't been wearing his prescription glasses, the outcome could have been very different.
"I've done this so many times that I got complacent, it only takes once to really mess things up. I could have completely lost my vision, I could have been blind, I could have had permanent face damage", he said.
"I wear [prescription] glasses, the rims were plastic and when I went to take them off my face they just crumbled into my hand.
"It melted the glasses pretty much off my face. If I wouldn't have had glasses on, the doctors said I'd have no vision. I was very lucky."
After six hours in hospital, William was sent home with pain medicine and over-the-counter cream to put on his face.
A few weeks on from his ordeal he's now mostly healed, other than a few scabs on his nose, and has returned to work.
He said: "By the time I left, I could see a good 90%, my vision's 100% back now. I've already gone back to work and now every time I have to use a chemical I make sure I have PPE on,
"It was wild, it was definitely a moment I'll never forget."
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