Safety Tip of the Week – Hydrogen Sulfide

Hydrogen Sulfide

 Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, flammable, extremely hazardous gas with a “rotten egg” smell.

It occurs naturally in crude petroleum and natural gas and can be produced by the breakdown of organic matter and human/animal wastes (i.e., sewage).

It is heavier than air and can collect in low-lying and enclosed, poorly ventilated areas such as basements, manholes, sewer lines, and underground telephone/electrical vaults.

Health effects:

  • Health effects vary with how long, and at what level, you are exposed. Asthmatics may be at greater risk.

  • Low concentrations – irritation of eyes, nose, throat, or respiratory system; effects can be delayed.

  • Moderate concentrations – more severe eye and respiratory effects, headache, dizziness, nausea, coughing, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.

  • High concentrations – shock, convulsions, unable to breathe, coma, death; effects can be extremely rapid (within a few breaths).

When working in an area where hydrogen sulfide is present, every worker should be equipped with their own hydrogen sulfide detector that will sound an alarm if the level in the atmosphere reaches 10 ppm.

Those who work the safest way…live to work another day!! 


Download flyer: STOTW_519_Hydrogen Sulfide.pdf (876.49 kb)

Download Spanish flyer: STOTW_519_Hydrogen Sulfide_esp.pdf (878.15 kb)

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