U.S. Chemical Safety Board Launches Investigation into Another Release of Toxic Hydrofluoric Acid at Honeywell Facility in Geismer, Louisiana

 

 Washington D.C. June 10, 2024 – Today, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) announced that it is deploying a team of chemical incident investigators to investigate a release of highly toxic hydrofluoric acid (HF)  that occurred last Friday, June 7, 2024, at the Honeywell International Fluorine Products facility in Geismar, LA, that seriously injured a worker there. 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 October 21, 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 January 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.

 

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

 

The CSB’s board members are appointed by the President subject to Senate confirmation. The Board does not issue citations or fines but makes safety recommendations to companies, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA.

Please visit our website, www.csb.gov. For more information, contact Communications Manager Hillary Cohen at [email protected]

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