Hydrogen sulphide is a colourless, flammable gas with a characteristic odour of rotten eggs. People can usually smell it at low concentrations in air ranging from 0.0005 to 0.3 parts per million (ppm). It occurs both naturally and through human activity. H2S is extremely dangerous and can cause collapse and death within minutes of exposure.
Insight from The Expert
Stuart Halliday, a CMIOSH HSE professional with extensive industry experience, works with Mintra to advise on our health and safety courses and ensure that our course content is both compliant with industry standards and relevant to our end users. We talked to Stuart about his experiences in the industry relating to hydrogen sulphide.
Have you ever experienced a situation/incident that involved hydrogen sulphide?
I have worked on plant with H2S but thankfully have not been directly involved in any H2S incidents.
How does hydrogen sulphide affect the Oil & Gas industry in general?
There are lots of sour gas sites. The hazards are well known and generally most operators have a good system to manage the risks.
What is the general attitude to hydrogen sulphide in your industry?
What advice would you give on hydrogen sulphide to anyone working in the industry?
Make no mistake: H2S can and does kill. Always bump-test your personal gas monitor before deploying to site. That is the only way you can be 100% sure it's working correctly. You must have absolute faith in this equipment so that when it goes off you trust it and take immediate appropriate action. Don't question the meter: get out fast.
What could the industry do to minimise the risk of these incidents occurring?
There are a lot of controls that can be put in place. Industry can use the hierarchy of control to look at engineering solutions such as chemical treatment methods, e.g. H2S scavengers, or biocides to prevent growth of sulphate-producing bacteria. Having good management of this hazard is key and ensuring that the people working the system are well trained and drilled in what to do if things go wrong is crucial. Don’t depend on PPE.
How can the Mintra course help to achieve this?
This is a good introduction to H2S for employees who work on sites where H2S is expected and provides a good grounding to build knowledge and learning from.
Mintra's hydrogen sulphide course is aimed at individuals required to carry out a work task or visit an asset where the release of H2S is possible.
Useful resource http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/guidance/oce6.pdf
Learn more about hydrogen sulphide by completing the accredited Mintra Hydrogen Sulfide Awareness Training Course.
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