What makes hydrogen sulphide gas deadly is the fact that it is highly inflammable and can travel back to the source of ignition. Workers and mechanics who enter wastewater treatment plants need to be equipped with suitable respiratory protection. This is because these treatment plants can contain hydrogen sulphide gas. Although this gas is naturally present in crude oil, it can also be produced as a result of bacterial action on human waste. This increases the risk of hydrogen sulphide exposure for workers at these plant. Certain precautions need to be taken to ensure better safety of workers. Following the death of 2 workers due to hydrogen sulphide gas exposure in July at Wichita Falls, Texas, this year authorities have issued new safety rules. Read on to learn more.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Workers To Carry Gas Detection Devices
Workers in wastewater treatment plants will need to carry out air quality tests in the basement compulsorily. to detect the presence of hydrogen sulphide gas. In addition, they will be required to carry gas detection devices in areas suspected to contain hydrogen sulphide gas. In addition, gas detection alarms will need to be installed in the wastewater treatment plants.
Christopher Collins said in a recent article:
“Per an internal city memorandum, plant workers now will be required to take air quality tests in the basement every two hours and also will have to carry gas detection devices into areas where hydrogen sulfide could be present. The memo states that permanent gas detection alarms may be installed in the facility.”
If Hydrogen Sulfide Gas Is Suspected, The Area Must Be Ventilated
Air testing has become mandatory in places where hydrogen sulphide gas can accumulate. In liquid form, hydrogen sulphide can cause frostbite in human beings. In cases where the gas is detected, the area has to be ventilated properly, before workers can operate there. In the event that ventilation is not possible, workers need to wear suitable respiratory equipment to prevent being overwhelmed by the highly toxic gas.
Christopher Collins elaborates in another article:
“Though the primary method of exposure to the gas is inhalation, it is “highly flammable” if ignited and can travel back to the source of ignition. Contact with liquid hydrogen sulfide can cause frostbite.
OSHA advises that air be tested before an employee works in an area where hydrogen sulfide gas may be present. If the gas is present, the area must be ventilated — if ventilation is not possible, employees must wear “appropriate respiratory protection.”
The precautions mentioned in this article will help workers at wastewater treatment plants stay safe. Exposure to even low concentrations of hydrogen sulphide gas can lead to adverse effects in people, while exposure to higher concentrations of the gas can lead to death. This is why taking adequate precautions is essential in wastewater treatment plants.