Well Site Air Monitoring is critical to protecting all workers in the oil field. The major reason is due to the risk of an H2S release, which can lead to worker fatalities. H2S can be encountered throughout the Oil & Gas Industry along with LEL’s (Lower Explosive Limits) and Oxygen deficient atmospheres.
All petroleum workers need H2S Alive training but that training by itself may not be always be enough to protect themselves. Other electronic devices and equipment are needed to detect the presence or H2S gas.
What is Hydrogen sulfide?
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a colorless gas which at lower concentrations has a distinctive rotten egg odor. Most exposure to it occurs by inhalation. Hydrogen sulfide is generated as a by-product in many industrial processes or by the decomposition of organic (previously living) matter. It is slightly heavier than air and is therefore especially dangerous in low-lying areas and confined or enclosed workspaces. At high temperatures (260 degrees Celsius, 500 degrees Fahrenheit) hydrogen sulfide reacts explosively.
Hydrogen sulfide goes by a number of names including: dihydrogen sulfide, sulphur hydribe, hydrosulphuric acid, sulfuretted hydrogen and hepatic gas. Its common names are stink damp, sour gas or sewer gas.
Hydrogen sulfide is a deadly poison. When inhaled it goes through the lungs and enters the bloodstream. To protect itself the body tries to break down the hydrogen sulfide as fast as possible into a harmless compound. Poisoning occurs when the amount absorbed in the blood exceeds the rate at which it is eliminated.
Exposure to high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide (acute exposure) can cause immediate coma and death from respiratory failure. Hydrogen sulfide builds up in the blood, paralyzes the nerve centers in the brain which stops the lungs from working. If not caught in time, acute poisoning is deadly.
Sub-acute exposure (exposure to lower levels) may result in headaches, dizziness, loss of balance, agitation, nausea, and diarrhea. Chronic poisoning (repeated exposure to low levels) may result in slowed pulse rate, fatigue, insomnia, cold sweat, eye infections, loss of weight, skin eruptions. If a worker is suffering from any of these symptoms, hydrogen sulfide may be responsible. The presence of hydrogen sulfide may be responsible. The presence of hydrogen sulfide should be suspected and tested for.
CSI rents out Breathing Air trailers to allow for some work in H2S environments.
CSI rents out RAE systems Mesh Guard units to detect H2S.
Check out this link for the Meshguard System
Mesh guard units detect the presence of H2S which then sound alarms and notifies onsite personnel by means of sounds and lights. The Mesh Guard unit is not the only means of detection though.
Portable personal gas badges that test air quality and LEL’s (Lower Explosive Limits) should also be used onsite as a primary means of protection. Portable monitors (badges) should be clipped onto the worker’s PPE at all times. These should also warn workers with audible alarm and colored lights and have the capacity to be used continuously for more than 8 hours without recharging batteries.
Well site air should be monitored and hydrogen sulfide should be controlled so that no worker is exposed to levels above 10 ppm.
Using CSI for your job site will ensure a safer workplace.
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