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Hydrogen Sulfide gas can be one of the most vicious and deadly hazards in the oil and gas industry. It goes by many names such as H2S, sour gas and sulfureted hydrogen, and workers in the oil and gas industry are very aware of its lethal properties. Found in formations that are being drilled for oil, the gas is formed by decomposition of organic matter containing sulfur.
Hydrogen sulfide is a highly toxic, colorless, combustible gas. It is heavier than air and has the unmistakable odor of rotten eggs. However the sense of smell is not a reliable warning because exposure to this gas quickly deadens the sense of smell; relying on being able to detect its odor can provide a false sense of security.
Loss of consciousness can occur within seconds of exposure to a high concentration of this gas. The only positive means of determining the amount of H2S present is by testing with approved detectors. If H2S is suspected, the concentration must be determined before personnel are allowed in the area. If it is found to be present, the following procedures should be adopted:
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