Chemical Safety Investigators Deploy to Plant’s Third Incident

Chemical Safety Investigators Deploy to Plant’s Third Incident

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board deployed a team of chemical incident investigators to investigate a release of highly toxic hydrofluoric acid (HF) that occurred June 7, at the Honeywell International Fluorine Products facility in Geismar, La.

Honeywell reported that a contract maintenance employee was exposed to the HF while performing maintenance activities at the facility. The worker was hospitalized because of the exposure.

Also Read: Chemical Safety Board Investigating 2 Releases

HF is an extremely toxic and corrosive gas and liquid that is used in the refining and chemical industries.

CSB Chairperson Steve Owens said, “This is the third serious incident involving the release of HF at this facility in the last three years. This cannot keep happening.”

The first serious recent incidents at the Honeywell Geismar facility was on Oct. 21, 2021, when a Honeywell employee died after being exposed to HF on unprotected areas of his face, ear and neck. The incident occurred when a gasket in the facility’s piping catastrophically failed.

Also Read: CSB releases video for June 2013 Williams Olefins plant explosion

The second incident was on Jan. 23, 2023. A heat exchanger ruptured at the Honeywell facility, resulting in an explosion and the release of approximately 870 pounds of hydrogen fluoride (as well as 1,700 pounds of chlorine).

Local officials closed nearby highways, and workers at the facility sheltered in place. Property damage at the facility is estimated to be $4 million. No one was seriously injured or killed in this event, but the release could have put workers at the facility and nearby residents at serious risk under different circumstances.

CSB launched an investigation into the January 2023 incident earlier this year. CSB’s investigation is currently ongoing.

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