Safety Hazards Associated with Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a colorless, corrosive, and extremely hazardous gas. It’s known for its “rotten egg” smell that can turn sickeningly sweet as the concentration increases. Other names associated with it are sewer gas, sour gas, stink damp or hydrosulphuric acid. H2S is a highly flammable gas that can lead to an explosive state, leading to the potential production of toxic vapors and gases like sulfur dioxide. 

This gas can be found in a variety of industries, from factories to agriculture. It is found naturally in crude petroleum and natural gas, as well as a bacterial breakdown of organic compounds and human and animal waste. Hydrogen sulfide is heavier than air and travels in low-lying, enclosed, poorly ventilated areas.

At low concentrations, H2S irritates the eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory system. Those with breathing difficulties can experience shortness of breath in addition to basic symptoms of exposure. It can be very harmful, even in small amounts, and should not be taken lightly if you are experiencing any symptoms. 

Hydrogen sulfide is an irritant and a chemical asphyxiant, meaning it can inhibit the flow of oxygen from the bloodstream to our cells. This presents a workplace hazard if an employee breathes in the gas and prevents further inhalation as it is adsorbed in the lungs. High concentrations of the gas can lead to serious eye conditions, dizziness, nausea, and more within seconds. 

Workers at risk are typically working in small or confined spaces with poor ventilation. Employees dealing with landfill operations, as well as personnel working around heating elements, are just a few examples of risked environments. 

Otis Instruments is a manufacturer of wired and wireless gas detection and monitoring systems for toxic, combustible, oxygen, and carbon dioxide gases. Our products are used in a variety of industries and are easy to use. Contact us today to discuss your needs and how our products can help you and your business.

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