The Bakken oil field presents many dangers to the people working there. These include exposure to harmful chemicals such as hydrogen sulfide. This gaseous chemical is flammable, explosive, toxic, and is corrosive in humid conditions when it reacts with water to become sulfurous and sulfuric acid. Any of the workers at the Bakken field can be exposed to hydrogen sulfide including tanker drivers.
At low to moderate concentrations, hydrogen sulfide causes intense irritation and discomfort to the eyes, nose, and throat. It produces a headache, fatigue, dizziness, and gastrointestinal problems. At the higher end of the moderate concentration range, the aforementioned symptoms worsen. Eye damage and breathing difficulty also occur. At high concentrations, the sense of smell is lost and unconsciousness ensues leading to death within an hour. The highest concentrations cause immediate loss of consciousness and paralysis of the respiratory system, which causes death.
Be Aware of Areas of Exposure
Hydrogen sulfide is heavier than air, which causes it to sink and collect in low-lying areas, tunnels, and pits. It also collects in crude oil storage tanks, vessels, and pipelines.
Use Detection Devices
Hydrogen sulfide is colorless and smells like rotten eggs at low concentrations. While there's no mistaking this odor, it is not a reliable means of detection because the sense of smell deadens with prolonged exposure. At higher concentrations, it causes olfactory paralysis in which the victim loses all sense of smell. Detection requires the right test devices operated by qualified individuals.
Employ Safety Measures
Monitor the air with reliable test devices and provide grounded ventilation systems that won't ignite or cause hydrogen sulfide explosions. The ventilation apparatus must resist corrosion from the sulfurous and sulfuric acids formed from hydrogen sulfide. The ventilation system should run continuously in confined areas.
Provide training to all workers about hydrogen sulfide symptoms, dangers, safe practices, emergency procedures, and the location and use of emergency equipment. Provide workers with respiratory and other protective equipment in areas with significant danger.
If you suffered a work injury from hydrogen sulfide exposure, seek legal advice from the experienced lawyers at Odegaard Braukmann Law. They can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free case evaluation.