Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) is a highly flammable, corrosive and toxic gas. Also known as stink damp, sewer gas, sour gas, it is a deadly gas which can kill a worker within few seconds if proper awareness is not there.
H2S safety training & awareness program is a must for all the workers, working in industries which are prone to H2S exposure. Primary route of H2S is through inhalation. At a concentration less than or around 50ppm (parts per million), H2S acts as respiratory tract irritant. At 100ppm concentration approximately, H2S paralyzes the olfactory nerve and the sense of smell.
As per II schedule (under section 41-F) of Indian Factory Act, 1948; TWA (8hrs) – 10ppm, STE limit – 15ppm.
The effects of hydrogen sulphide depends on duration of exposure, frequency of exposure and the intensity, as well as the susceptibility of the person exposed.
H2S Risk Factors
Worker’s Attitude – Workers who are unaware about the hazards of H2S are more likely to be harmed if exposed.
Confined Space – Workers who enter into a confined space such as tank or sewer could be overcome by H2S which has natural tendency to settle at bottom strata of atmosphere.
Ignition Sources & Smoking – Cigarettes, lit matches, pipes and other sources of intense heat can trigger H2S explosion and serious fire.
Contact lenses – Wearing contact lenses may pose risk as it may absorb and hold irritants.
Still air – H2S gas can build up to hazardous levels if there is no air movement.
Risk of H2S exposure is there in all the industries, including, although not limited to, mining, oil and gas, construction, paper and pulp. At workplaces, wherever there is possibility of H2S exposure, all the workers should have proper awareness. Workers who are at risk of H2S exposure and/or workers with rescue responsibilities also needs H2S workplace-specific training.
H2S gas very commonly appears in natural oil and gas installations during its extraction from ground on earth’s surface, in off-shore installations in deep seas, on-shore installations, during its transportation/handling/refining etc. It is highly toxic and dangerous gas with severe explosion and fire hazards. This is the main reason for making people aware of its adverse effects and making them learn the ways to protect against it.
H2S safety training program helps employees to identify the hazards. H2S A recurring awareness program about the dangers of exposus, proactive controls and a strong emergency responses system is one of the most effective methods to ensure a safe work environment.
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