Respirex International


PPE Selection For HF Refineries

The ideal way to protect yourself from any chemical is to keep well away from it; any other mode of protection is ultimately a compromise. We need to strike a balance that allows essential work to be undertaken with  the minimum risk to health. 

Consider the following scenario; you are on-site on a sunny afternoon and everything is going well. All of the various forms of HF are present, but safely contained in tanks, pipes, cylinders etc. The site-team are meticulous in their work and there probably isn’t a drop of HF anywhere that you could actually come into contact with. But there is always a slight risk - the pipe-joint that was fine yesterday might just start to weep today. The spillage that they thought they had cleaned-up last week might actually have seeped under a tank and is now starting to come out the other side next to the walk-way. So if you are on-site it would be prudent for you to wear some sort of protective clothing. You certainly aren’t going to meet a deluge of HF, and you aren’t going out with a spanner looking for trouble. You’re just wandering around on a walk-about tour of inspection, tapping gauges, checking valves, looking at sight-glasses. You need some “precautionary” protection - jacket and trousers or a  Siren suit. You wear it in the same way that you would wear a hard-hat - you’re not expecting it to rain bricks but you put it on anyway. The jacket & trousers or Siren suit options are typically termed Class A or B protection. Workwear in our language. With these you need to consider protection for the head and neck, so you should consider a hard-hat with a fitted visor and a neck-cloth or wrap.

Now imagine that you’re on site to perform a routine service on a valve. Everything is under control, the relevant section of pipe-work has been isolated and flushed, but you know that as you undo the flange-nuts a bit of hydrofluoric acid is going to dribble out. The acid will probably fume a bit but it won’t be a problem - you’ve done the job 100 times before and you’re expecting it. Given that you are now actually expecting to encounter some HF you need to increase the level of your protection. The workwear is fine but you really need to add an air-fed hood. This will give you some respiratory protection and save your face and eyes from fumes and splashes. Or for the same job you might find a tank-suit a bit more comfortable. This level of protection is normally designated Class D. 

Lastly, we need to think of a plan for the unexpected. So far, if anything uncontrolled had unexpectedly happened your plan would have been to make a swift exit. Your Class C or D protection would have got you out of the danger-zone perfectly safely, but you wouldn’t want to hang around. So imagine that you’ve had a report of a problem - one of the forms of HF spraying out of a faulty coupling somewhere. The team who found the problem got out quickly and are OK, but now you’ve got to go in and make an emergency repair. No messing with workwear this time - this is serious. You’re not sure what you’re going to find when you get out there so you want the best protection available - a Class E gas-tight suit. 

It is vital that wearers have full confidence in their protective clothing and as such employers have a moral responsibility to ensure that the PPE they provide gives adequate protection.

Chemical Workwear

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Air-Fed Chemical Garments

Air-Fed Chemical Suits

    • Simplair A.E. Suit

      Simplair A.E. Suit

      Type 2 non-gas-tight chemical protective suit designed for use with breathable air supplied from an external compressed

    Air-Fed Chemical Hoods

      • Simplair A.E. Hood

        Simplair A.E. Hood

        Chemically resistant hood designed for use with breathable air supplied from an external compressed air source

      Air-Fed Chemical Blouses

        Limited-Life Air-Fed Chemical Suits

          • GLS 300C

            GLS 300C

            An air-fed suit used with breathable air from an external compressed air source

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          Gas-Tight Suits

          • Limited Life Suit

            Limited Life Suit

            Type 1a-ET Limited Life, Fully Encapsulating Gas-Tight Chemical Protective Suit

          Splash Suits

          Protective Footwear

          Chemically Protective Footwear

            • Compact Chemical Overboots

              Compact Chemical Overboots

              A chemically protective front-opening overboot with a slip resistant sole designed to be worn over safety shoes and trainers.

            CBRN Equipment

            Air Supply Equipment