Chemical Spotlight: 


Hydrochloric Acid

All our clients deal with dangerous chemicals and hazardous materials daily. Here at Chempli, we decided it useful to spotlight one hazardous chemical or material each week. We will take you through the uses, benefits and safety requirements required for the chosen chemical. This week our focus is on Hydrochloric acid.

Hydrochloric acid is a chemical that is naturally found in the human body. This is found in the form of stomach acid. To aid in the natural digestion of foods. Hydrochloric acid is also used in the manufacturing of batteries, fireworks and industrial steel. Hydrochloric acid is another staple chemical due to its wide range of uses and implementation.

Despite the numerous benefits and uses of this chemical, exposure to HCl gas or solutions of HCl may cause eye irritation and permanent damage with loss of sight. Skin exposure can cause irritation and burns. Breathing in hydrochloric acid can also cause severe breathing difficulties, coughing and choking.

If you are using hydrochloric acid in your workplace on there is substantial amounts stored on the premises, it is essential to carry out a Risk Assessment to define how exposed you and your colleagues may be. Implement a management plan for all hazardous materials and chemicals and you should begin with reading through the safety data sheet. With hydrochloric acid, we can see two classification categories. 

These are corrosive and a health hazard.

More importantly the health hazards below:

  • H290 May be corrosive to metals.
  • H314 Causes severe skin burns and eye damage.
  • H315 Causes skin irritation.
  • H318 Causes serious eye damage.
  • H319 Causes serious eye irritation.
  • H335 May cause respiratory irritation.

Hydrochloric acid sds feature image

Hydrochloric acid can also be detrimental to health. When HCl enters the body as a result of breathing, swallowing, or skin contact, it reacts with water to produce hydrochloric acids, a highly corrosive chemical. Following exposure to HCl, the most common symptoms include eye irritation, permanent loss of sight, burns severe breathing irritation and choking. This is why HCl needs to be handled and stored correctly. Please ensure that any process or task that involves Hydrochloric Acid in concentration is Risk Assessed by a qualified person before using the material. 

Please adhere to the following precautions:

  • P234 Keep only in original packaging.
  • P261 Avoid breathing dust/ fume/ gas/ mist/ vapors/ spray.
  • P271 Use only outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
  • P280 Wear protective gloves/ protective clothing/ eye protection/ face protection/ hearing protection.
  • P303 + P361 + P353 IF ON SKIN (or hair): Take off immediately all contaminated clothing. Rinse skin with water.
  • P305 + P351 + P338 IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing.

We would recommend a Corvault for bulk hydrochloric acid storage. This will provide a fully enclosed, certified bunded storage unit ensuring compliance when storing HCl with high corrosion resistance and adequate natural ventilation. For advice on the specific concentration and quantity of HCl, you may be storing there are options for forced air extraction systems to avoid the build-up of harmful vapours. For specialist advice on how to safely handle and store HCl, please contact Chemstore today for a free no obligations site assessment or discuss your specific concerns.

With your Chemstore unit, you will have access to Chempli’s Chemstore Library for free. However, paid users will have access to the entire suite of Chempli modules. Most relevant in the storage of hydrochloric acid would be the Inventory Management module. This module would allow you to accurately track the level of HCl in your Chemstore unit. As well as adjusting the maximum, minimum and actual quantities and have instant access to your safety data sheet.

Chempli’s Risk Management module will also be beneficial to you. This module will allow you to create a risk assessment for HCl that is tailored to you and your company. This risk assessment will provide you with a risk matrix based on how often the chemical is used and how severe the effects are.

Chempli Risk Management Module Risk Assessment

If you would like to discuss the benefits of Chempli please get in contact with the Chempli team here. If you would like to book a demo, please fill out the form below and we will get back to you!

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