250152 Hydrofluoric acid (HF) disaster potential in US oil refineries and surrounding communities

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thomas H. McQuiston, DrPH , USW Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education, Chapel Hill, NC
Kim Nibarger , Health, Safety & Environment Dept, United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (U, Pittsburgh, PA
Tobi Mae Lippin, MEd , New Perspectives Consulting Group, Inc., Durham, NC
Industrial incidents involving hydrofluoric acid have already killed and injured workers, resulted in evacuations of thousands of comŽmunity residents with some requiring medical attention, and polluted U.S. water-ways. First, this presentation will explore two recent hydrofluoric acid (HF) incidents at refineries – one at a facility operated by CITGO (Corpus Christi, TX) and another at a facility operated by Tesoro (Mandan, North Dakota). In both cases, fires and releases endangered refinery workers and had the potential, if other systems had failed, to endanger surrounding communities. These fires included the burning of acid soluble oil, a byproduct of HF used in alkylation. Second, the Tony Mazzocchi Center and the USW will present findings from the recently completed Hydrofluoric (HF) and Sulfuric Acid Refinery Survey among U.S. operations. The survey includes responses from over 25 USW-represented refineries in which hydrofluoric acid (HF) is used to boost octane in alkylation processes. The data presented will characterize issues such as transportation, storage, conditions of related equipment and facilities, effectiveness and integrity of safety systems, shifts to inherently safer materials or technologies, incidents or near-misses including injuries or illness and other consequences, and emergency response readiness and effectiveness. Also covered will be issues related to worker training for emergency response teams, hazmat teams, or fire brigades aimed at both prevention and response.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Explain the health hazards faced by refinery workers and their communities who experienced a hydrofluoric acid (HF) fire and release. List and discuss findings of a national survey of labor union locals who represent workers at U.S. oil refineries that use very large quantities of HF.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Occupational Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am lead on the evaluation team of the nationwide refinery study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.