Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2009 15:29:08 -0500
Reply-To: Rigel Lustwerk <rlustwerk**At_Symbol_Here**SAFETYPARTNERSINC.COM>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Rigel Lustwerk <rlustwerk**At_Symbol_Here**SAFETYPARTNERSINC.COM>
Subject: Re HF use
Mallinckrodt-Baker's MSDS is very good for HF, particularly as regards 1st
Aid procedures.  Note that the ordinary "wash 15 minutes with water" is only
recommended when no other treatment options are available, since it delays
applying calcium gluconate, or benzalkonium chloride or tetracaine
benzethonium chloride.  When these substances are available (and they should
be!!!), only wash 5 minutes and then apply.

I suggest having all the 1st aid materials right where folks are working
with HF, and it is good to have drills in using these.  Having anyone who
works with HF keep a tube of calcium gluconate at home or in their car or
purse or whatever is also a good idea.  Make sure that your ER knows that
you are working with HF and how to handle any exposures.

As far as the actual work, apart from working in a fume hood and having all
the appropriate PPE (goggles, PVC or neoprene or particular vinyl gloves),
there are a few work habits that are very important.  First NEVER sit at a
fume hood when working with HF (or for that matter with any corrosive or
flammable chemical), since this presents a much greater surface area to
potential exposure.  One of the more insidious problems with HF is the fact
that even with concentrated solutions it is possible that there will be no
pain associated with the initial contact (I know this from experience!).
So, if the procedure allows, the addition of dye to the HF will help alert
someone to their exposure.  I also use dye in water to do a 'dry' run of any
HF procedures, just to point up where problems may occur.  This can be part
of a job safety analysis for the procedure.

Rigel Lustwerk
Safety Partners, Inc.

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.