Hydrofluoric Acid

This chemical standard operating procedure (SOP) is for your safety. Read, understand, and follow this document. If this is a paper copy, you should check for the most recent version on the IsoLab website. This document was created from a template modeled after the University of Washington Environmental Health and Safety Laboratory Safety Manual Standard Operating Procedures Components.

Is hydrofluoric acid a particularly hazardous substance? YES

What is a particularly hazardous substance? The University of Washington Environmental Health and Safety defines it here.

The SDS for hydrofluoric acid can be found here.

1. Process Hydrofluoric acid is primarily used in keragen extractions to dissolve silicates and other oxides.
2. Hazards Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is a hazard by inhalation, skin contact, eye contact, and ingestion. Person providing first aid must protect themselves. Refer to SDS for more information.
3. Personal Protective Equipment 22 mil (nominal) gauge neoprene, butyl rubber or SilverShield.  Optional to use nitrile gloves as a second layer on top for dexterity.  Do not use latex gloves.  Dispose of gloves after each use.  Wear goggles together with a face shield to protest the face and eyes from splashes.  Wear heavy rubber apron, Tyvek coveralls, lab coat and/or Tyvek sleeves to protect clothes and body.  Wear closed-toe shoes to protect the feet.  Ensure gloves are thoroughly washed after use, even if no visible contamination.
4. Environmental / Ventilation Controls HF is not to leave JHN 303B unless it is in its original container with a tightly closed lid. When in JHN 303B work must be concentrated in the fume hood. Check the fume hood for proper functioning.
5. Special Handling Procedures & Storage Requirements Store HF in the Corrosives cabinet under the fume hood in 303B. Store HF in plastic or Teflon containers. Do not store or use HF in glass, metal or ceramic containers. Do not work alone with HF or when tired. Do not leave HF containers open when not in use.
6. Spill and Accident Procedures

Spill Kit located in 302B labeled cabinet.

If skin is exposed to HF, remove clothing and rinse for five minutes in the safety shower. Send someone to call 911 as soon as possible. Apply calcium gluconate gel to the skin. Untreated exposures may be fatal. If eye is splashed by HF, call 911 as soon as possible and flush eyes for 15 minutes in the eye wash. Do not apply calcium gluconate gel to eyes. If HF is inhaled, remove to fresh air and call 911. Concentrations in air as low as 50 ppm can be fatal; health effects are possible at 3 ppm. Evacuate the room if there is a spill outside of the fume hood. Vapors may present a serious health risk. If you think you may have inhaled HF fumes but are not sure, call the Washington Poison Control Center at 800.222.1222. 

During business hours, call EH&S at 206.543.0467 for further assistance. If a spill occurs after hours, call 911 and ask for EH&S assistance. When necessary EH&S will obtain a chemical spill cleanup contractor at the lab’s expense. If trained and equipped, cleanup small dilute spills only. Wear PPE listed above. Absorb the spill to minimize all exposure time to HF. To clean surfaces use a calcium carbonate (not sodium bicarbonate) solution to completely neutralize the spill area. Double bag and securely fasten spill cleanup materials.

Spill materials are a hazardous waste. Report the spill via the EH&S Online Accident Reporting System (OARS).

7. Waste Disposal HF waste is hazardous. Accumulate waste in a plastic or Teflon container with a screw top lid. Submit a Chemical Collection Request via the EH&S Web site for collection. Do not accumulate large volumes of HF waste. Spill debris is also a hazardous waste and must be collected by EH&S for proper disposal. Keep waste in 303B in the gray secondary containment tubs. Some empty HF bottles are difficult to dismantle for neutralizing and disposal. You must dismantle these bottles before disposing of them. Here is an image that will help you understand how they come apart.
8. Special Precautions for Animal Use (if applicable) N/A
Particularly hazardous substance involved? YES, see 9-11
9. Approval Required

You must have taken Managing Laboratory Chemicals or similar UW EH&S condoned course before using HF. You must read and understand the SDS and the HF Focus sheet before using HF. You also must notify the lab manager that you are about to undertake HF work.

10. Decontamination Ensure area is clean and dry. Do not leave out HF-contaminated items.
11. Designated Area HF may only be used in JHN 302B


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Last updated: 2020-10-13 11:13:52