Winery accident leaves three workers in critical condition

Three workers at a winery in Iraklio, Crete, were in critical condition on Tuesday after suffering extensive chemical burns while cleaning out a wine vat, local media site Creta Live has reported.

The three workers were drenched by a spray of caustic potash when a rubber seal broke on a vat they were in the process of cleaning. A fourth man, reported to be visiting the site at the time of the accident, suffered minor injuries.

Two of the three workers suffered chemical burns over 20-30 percent of their bodies, while emergency medical crews were trying to resuscitate the third. All are in critical condition, the deputy director of the University General Hospital of Iraklio, Eleni Borboudaki, was quoted as saying.

Caustic potash, or potassium hydroxide, is commonly used in the wine-making industry as a sterilization agent.

An inquiry will be launched into the accident to determine whether it was the result of a breach in safety protocol.