What is it?
Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) is an extremely toxic gas produced naturally from decaying biomass. Though H2S irritates the throat and eyes, its giveaway quality is its smell: a rank, rotten-egg odor that has earned this gas several nasty nicknames including “sewer gas” and “stink damp.”
Who is at risk? How does it affect people?
Hydrogen sulfide frequently affects oil and gas workers, especially those on the rig. H2S is an irritating gas, so people exposed to significant concentrations experience severe throat and eye irritation. Coughing and vomiting are common reactions to the gas. However, in higher concentrations, H2S can “knockout” – one or two breaths of it may render a person immediately unconscious. Severe poisoning can also cause seizures, coma, and death. Survivors typically suffer lifelong health problems.
Where is it found?
Decaying biomass naturally produces hydrogen sulfide in oil reserves, and the deadly gas can accumulate in large concentrations underground. Well drilling taps those reserves and transfers the deadly gas to the surface where workers are present. Many H2S poisonings occur on the rig floor where the gas exits the drilling pipe, but H2S has properties that make it less predictable than other gases.
Hydrogen sulfide is notably heavier than air. It does not dissipate the way lighter gases do, and these deadly, invisible clouds are notorious for lingering in low-lying spaces and in areas downwind from drilling rigs.
Hydrogen sulfide concentrations can also infuse with drilling mud mix, creating gas pockets in mud mixing tanks and in mud ponds. Many people have suffered H2S poisoning after opening a hatch to a mud tank.
Why do H2S poisonings happen?
Sometimes, hydrogen sulfide poisonings happen without any warning. However, hydrogen sulfide poisonings can also happen due to someone else’s negligence. How is that possible?
In the extremely competitive, fast-paced world of petroleum drilling, business quotas too often overshadow employee safety. Employers suspend safety practices and break workplace rules to speed up production. But sacrificing safety is never acceptable. When overseers knowingly make irresponsible decisions that risk worker safety, they are to blame when people get hurt or killed. Those affected need experienced litigators who successfully hold negligent parties accountable.
Wyatt Law Firm Fights
If you have been injured or your loved one has been killed from a hydrogen sulfide poisoning or an oilfield accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The personal injury attorneys at the Wyatt Law Firm aggressively represent victims of oilfield accidents, many of whom never fully recover from being shortchanged by their employers. We fight for maximum compensation every single time, and we do so with a very successful track record.
Call us today at 210-340-5550 for a free case review, or submit a confidential contact sheet from our website. We work on a contingency fee basis: you don’t pay any money to hire us, and we charge our legal fees to the other side when we win your case. You have nothing to lose.