your health and safety
Employees have the right to work in an environment that is safe and guided by state and federal laws to ensure no harm is met. Unfortunately some employers are not even aware that their team could be in harms way. Poor monitoring and a poor understanding of the effects of some odours can be their downfall and open them up to legal action.
A popular threat such as : Hydrogen sulphide (also known as H2S, sewer gas, swamp gas, stink damp, and sour damp) is a colourless gas known for its pungent ‘rotten egg’ odour at low concentrations. It is extremely flammable and highly toxic.
Hydrogen sulphide occurs naturally in sewers and through anaerobic digestion of organics. Because it is heavier than air, hydrogen sulphide can collect in low-lying and enclosed spaces, such as manholes, sewers and underground telephone vaults. Its presence makes work in confined spaces potentially very dangerous.
How can hydrogen sulphide affect health?
While smelling hydrogen sulphide does not automatically harm, the odour can cause worry, anxiety and resentment. Repeated odour events may culminate in real symptoms such as headache, fatigue and nausea, when affected air levels reach at least 2 ppm for 30 minutes.
Those with sensitivity, such as some asthmatics, may respond with some minor irritative changes in their bronchial capacity.
The lowest level for adverse health effects is at least 500 times the odour detection limit.
At this level, irritation of the mucous membranes of the eye can occur.