Among the most serious dangers that oil field workers face is exposure to hydrogen sulfide (H2S). In addition to being highly flammable, it can also be toxic.
H2S is a naturally occurring gas. It can build up in places like sewers, manure pits, utility holes and oil and gas wells. That means it can be particularly dangerous to people working in these low-lying or confined, poorly ventilated areas.
Why workers can be unaware of leaking H2S
Although it’s colorless, H2S is known for its highly unpleasant “rotten egg” smell. Interestingly, the smell goes away quickly in high concentrations, so workers may be unaware that they’re in the presence of this toxic gas. It doesn’t take long for the gas to leave workers unconscious. If they aren’t removed from the area immediately, it can prove fatal.
Employers can help protect employees by ensuring that they wear appropriate masks along with their other protective gear. It’s also crucial for oilfield workers to recognize the early signs of H2S poisoning, like headaches and nausea. As noted, however, the first obvious sign may be unconsciousness.
H2S leak killed Odessa oil field worker and wife
Three years ago, an H2S leak caused the death of an Odessa oil field employee who was called to investigate a pump house leak. Unfortunately, the water that was leaking contained H2S, which killed the man as well as his wife, who had to come out to check on him when she couldn’t reach him.
If you have been harmed or a loved one has been killed due to H2S poisoning, it’s crucial to explore your legal options for holding those responsible accountable and seeking the justice and compensation you deserve.