If you work around gas, crude oil, or decomposing materials, there’s a good chance you’ve received some degree of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) exposure. This toxic gas is a fundamental part of several industrial processes, including water treatment, paper production, farming, and petroleum processing. That’s why it’s important to follow these workplace safety tips to prevent hydrogen sulfide exposure.
Hydrogen sulfide tends to accumulate in dark, enclosed places. Oil wells especially are well known for their deadly concentrations of hydrogen sulfide. Because these places have poor ventilation, the gas becomes more concentrated as materials continue to decay and release more hydrogen sulfide over millions of years. While not all areas can have ventilation, opening vents wherever possible can dilute the deadly clouds.
Hydrogen sulfide’s rotten egg smell is only detectable at very low concentrations. As hydrogen sulfide becomes more concentrated, it paralyzes your sense of smell. When the gas is especially dangerous, you may only have a moment to smell the sulfur before going nose-blind.
If you’re entering an area with a lot of hydrogen sulfide in the air, you’ll want a respirator and eye protection. Even at low levels, hydrogen sulfide stings the eyes and burns the lungs.
If the amount of gas in the air is too great, you should call a specialist. At very high concentrations, hydrogen sulfide can kill almost instantly. That means you need a self-contained breathing apparatus and a protective suit to approach the source.
There are always trace amounts of hydrogen sulfide present in gas and oil processing. That’s why you should regularly monitor the air with a hydrogen sulfide detector. This tool will take a sample of the air and ring an alarm if there’s too much H2S. It’s important to have these detectors around the workplace, as detecting hydrogen sulfide is extremely difficult without proper tools.
If you suffered from hydrogen sulfide exposure in the workplace due to negligent safety measures or OSHA violations, you might have a case. If you’d like a North Dakota personal injury attorney from Pringle & Herigstad to evaluate your hydrogen sulfide exposure claim, please give us a call at (701) 599-4337 or send us an email.