Understanding the Danger of Hydrogen Sulphide

We are going to talk about hydrogen sulphide, its negative health effects, and how you petroleum workers in Alberta can protect themselves and their colleagues with H2S Alive training from Metalcare Group.

What is Hydrogen Sulphide?

Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is an extremely hazardous gas with a tell-tale “rotten egg” smell. Hydrogen sulphide naturally occurring gas found in crude petroleum and natural gas, among other sources. It is produced by the breakdown of bacteria, organic materials, and waste. Hydrogen sulphide is also produced in petroleum and natural gas drilling and refining.

Why is Hydrogen Sulphide Dangerous?

H2S is an irritant and chemical asphyxiant. Low concentrations lead to symptoms like cough, shortness of breath, and teary eyes. Prolonged or repeated exposure can lead to headache, irritability, fatigue, insomnia, digestive problems, and weight loss. H2S is also highly flammable, and it can be explosive when combined with air. Moderate concentrations can cause serious breathing difficulties, headache, and vomiting. High concentrations can cause convulsions, asphyxiation, coma, and death, and effects can happen immediately. The gas also produces toxic vapours when ignited, including sulphur dioxide. Liquid hydrogen sulphide can cause frostbite.

Hydrogen sulphide is generally noticeable by the strong “rotten egg” odour. However, the gas can affect a person’s ability to smell the gas due to a condition called olfactory fatigue. Therefore the gas can still be present in high concentrations even if there is no noticeable smell.

How Do You Protect Against H2S Exposure?

You can protect against H2S exposure with proper ventilation, air testing, and respiratory protection. Using monitoring equipment, workers can test the air for the presence and concentration of hydrogen sulphide. If H2S is present, the area should be ventilated to remove the gas. If the gas cannot be removed, workers must wear personal protective equipment, rescue equipment, communication equipment, and respiratory protection.

H2S Alive – Enform

If you work in the petroleum industry in Alberta, you will need H2S safety training. Metalcare offers H2S Alive, a one-day course for petroleum industry workers who may be exposed to hydrogen sulphide in the course of work. In this one-day class, you learn about the physical properties of H2S, health hazards of this gas, protection measures you can take, rescue techniques, and hazard assessment and control. Students will also get hands-on training, performing rescue lifts and drag exercises. Students will also have the opportunity to operate a self-contained breathing apparatus. Following the training, students will receive Enform Certification, with a three-year expiry.

Contact Metalcare to sign up for an upcoming H2S Alive course in Fort McMurray and learn about the dangers of hydrogen sulphide.