Cinnaminson, NJ, August 19th, 2020
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that confined spaces include, but are not limited to, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, equipment housings, ductwork and pipelines. These and other work environments are considered confined spaces because while they are not necessarily designed for people, they are large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs.
One hazard that has tragically taken the lives of far too many workers in confined spaces is hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, flammable and extremely hazardous gas with a rotten egg smell. It is heavier than air so it can travel along the ground and collect in low-lying, enclosed and poorly-ventilated areas.
When working in confined spaces, air monitoring must be conducted in accordance with applicable OSHA standards. To protect workers from harmful hydrogen sulfide exposures in any work environment, the agency states employers need to:
- Evaluate exposure to know whether H2S gas is present and at what levels
- Eliminate the source of hydrogen sulfide whenever possible
- If the source cannot be eliminated, control exposures by:
- Using engineering controls as the next best line of defense
- Developing administrative controls and safe work practices to reduce exposures to safe levels
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) if engineering controls and work practices alone cannot reduce hydrogen sulfide to safe levels
“Hydrogen sulfide occurs naturally in crude petroleum, natural gas and hot springs,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “It is also produced by the microbial breakdown of organic materials, including human and animal waste. Industrial activities that can produce hydrogen sulfide include petroleum and natural gas drilling, refining, wastewater treatment, coke ovens, tanneries and paper mill processing to name a few.”
EMSL Analytical, Inc. provides hydrogen sulfide testing services, sampling supplies, air monitoring instruments and PPE. EMSL has even sponsored an educational video about hydrogen sulfide and exposure risks that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/oiVAOrvDKvQ.
To learn more about hydrogen sulfide and other air quality testing services, monitoring instruments or PPE, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with 45 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella
, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com
for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.