HF Burn Treatment Manual

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  • In order to prevent cross contamination, the victim of hydrofluoric acid exposure should perform the following actions on him/herself. If the victim requires assistance, anyone present can do it... but they should be extremely careful not to contaminate themselves in the process. Any person assisting should use HF-protective gloves (Neoprene or Nitrile (22mil)) and other safety equipment. Do not use latex gloves; they do not provide an effective HF barrier.

1. Skin Exposure

  • Immediately washing off the acid is a priority!
  • ¨ç Immediately wash all affected areas with water.
  • ¨è While the victim is being rinsed with water, someone should emergency call.
  • ¨é Continue flushing with water for at least 15 minutes or until medical treatment is given.
  • ¨ê Apply Calcium gluconate Gel freely and massage it into the affected site.
  • ¨ë Calcium Gluconate Gel should be reapplied continually every 10-15 minutes and massaged into the skin until the ambulance arrives
    or medical treatment is given by a physician or EMT.

2. Eye Exposure

  • Because HF penetrates deep into tissue, exposure of hydrofluoric acid solution or vapor to the eye can produce more extensive damage than other acids in similar concentrations. Immediate action is critical.

  • ¨ç Immediately flush eyes for at least 5 minutes with cool flowing water. Hold the eyelids open and away from the eye during irrigation to allow thorough flushing of the eyes. If sterile 1% calcium gluconate solution is available, washing may be limited to 5 minutes, after
    which the 1% calcium gluconate solution should be used repeatedly to irrigate the eye.
  • ¨è Immediately take the victim to a doctor, preferably an eye specialist. Clean water, eyewash, 1% calcium gluconate solution, or ice water
    compresses should be used to continue to irrigate the eye(s) while transporting the victim.

3. Reference

  • ¨ç American Journal of Industrial Medicine 40:215-220 (2001): Case Report: ¡°Fatal Unintentional Occupational Poisonings by Hydrofluoric
    Acid in the U.S.¡±
  • ¨è Chemical Health & Safety, January/February 2000 (Division of Chemical Health and Safety of the American Chemical Society): First aid for
    a unique acid, HF: A sequel
  • ¨é Hazard Alert, OHS Unit Information Manual (1995): Hydrofluoric Acid, HF
  • ¨ê The Annuals of Occupational Hygiene, Vol. 40, No. 6, pp. 705-710 (1996), Short Communication: ¡°Fatality due to acute fluoride
    poisoning following dermal contact with hydrofluoric acid in a palynology laboratory¡±
  • ¨ë The Safety Line Institute January (2006) Occupational Health & Safety Practitioner ¡°Case Study: Hydrofluoric Acid¡±