Home Interviews THMG151 – Hydrofluoric Acid Series, Part III: Anonymous Interview

THMG151 – Hydrofluoric Acid Series, Part III: Anonymous Interview


In this episode, Mike conducts an anonymous interview with someone who has a lot of experience working with hydrogen fluoride in an industrial setting.

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Complete Show Notes

4:45 Background on Anonymous Guest

  • Has worked in the industrial first response community since 1994
  • Worked in industries from nuclear to chemical to pipeline
  • Spent 3-4 years working in the petrochemical industry
  • Now works as a hazmat technician focusing on specialty industry hazards
  • Responsible for mitigating hazards (including hydrogen fluoride) before first responders arrive on site

8:05 Mitigating Protocols in Industry

  • Detection of release either through an operator walking around or detection/monitoring equipment
  • Be sure to treat/decontaminate any worker who you suspect has come into contact with hydrogen fluoride
  • If you’re dealing with property, hopefully all of the mitigating factors come into play
  • System failures (water, fire, etc.) may require help from first responders

9:55 Precautions from an Industry Standpoint

  • Key to understand the chemistry behind the substance you’re dealing with
  • Understand why it’s there and why that industry/facility uses that substance
  • Inspect testing and maintenance systems – most systems in industry are designed to keep things going in a robotic fashion
  • Go through the facility and make sure everything is shut down/mitigated methodically – work together with facility employees

13:05 Working with Other Teams

  • Some facilities may have a few people on a team, while other facilities may have a lot of people
  • In some cases, you’re just there to assist others who are highly educated and well trained
  • In others, you’re taking the lead because your team is more well-equipped or capable

16:35 Dealing with Hazardous Chemicals in Industry

  • Any system that’s mechanically-operated needs maintenance – often involves potentially hazardous chemicals
  • Industry is very careful to keep people safe from hazardous substances like hydrogen fluoride
  • Quick to get affected individuals cleaned up and treated with the proper medical care to keep them as safe as possible
  • Taking care of employees also means taking care of the environment they work in – companies make sure to decontaminate affected areas

19:20 Decontamination and Hydrogen Fluoride in Industry

  • Key to get affected individuals out of their contaminated clothing and wash them clean immediately
  • Look for chemical burns or other serious exposures
  • Very important to contain the dirty water from a hydrogen fluoride decontamination area
  • Facilities sometimes bring in environmental contractors to deal with the runoff from decontamination

22:50 Special Training and Dealing with Hydrogen Fluoride

  • All of the companies the anonymous interviewee worked for required individuals dealing with hydrogen fluoride to have special training
  • It doesn’t matter what your specific job is – everyone needs to know how to sound the alarm to address and mitigate incidents as efficiently as possible

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