I once found myself responsible for the safety issues of using a large quantity of hydrofluoric acid at a resuscitated mine ... The new GM at that mine (a Denver School of Mines PhD) had proposed using the stuff in open reactor containers with a gas extractor hood over them, attended by unprotected diamond sorters. Sometimes I worry.
Whole vats of HF? That bloke was either a ******* moron, a ******* sociopath or both. I have worked with some unpleasant stuff but didn't go near HF if there was someone stupider/braver/more experienced willing to do so. The worst bit is that HF is actually a pretty poor acid in conventional terms so it doesn't feel like it's burning. Until several hours / a day later, as the fluoride strips the calcium from your bones.
I'm glad you managed to change the situation as I shivered when I read your post.