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Investigation launched into another toxic gas release at Honeywell facility in US

11 June 2024

The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has announced that it is deploying a team of chemical incident investigators to investigate a release of highly toxic hydrofluoric acid (HF) that occurred on 7 June 2024 at the Honeywell International Fluorine Products facility in Geismar, Louisiana. The incident seriously injured a worker and is the third serious incident at the facility in the last three years.

Image: Honeywell
Image: Honeywell

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. HF is an extremely toxic and corrosive gas and liquid which 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 other two serious recent incidents at the Honeywell Geismer facility are:

On 21 October 2021, a Honeywell employee died after being exposed to HF on unprotected areas of his face, ear, and neck when a gasket in piping at the facility catastrophically failed.

On 23 January 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.

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

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