H2S Safety & Awareness with Northern Vac Services

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H2S Safety & Awareness with Northern Vac Services

H2S Safety & Awareness with Northern Vac Services


Hydrogen Sulfide or H2S is a deadly, colorless, highly flammable gas that can cause catastrophic effects with minimal exposure. It smells like rotten eggs; however, our sense of smell cannot be relied on as a personal H2S concentration measurement system. Hydrogen Sulfide exposure can cause significant health effects and even death, depending on how long a person has been exposed and what level of ppm. Northern Vac Services in Fort St. John is fully certified to deal with H2S infused environments. Hydrogen Sulfide can be found in the following locations:

  • Oil & Gas Field & Plant Production Facilities
  • Trucking & Pipeline Operations
  • Drilling Operations
  • Well Sites & Services
  • Tailing Ponds, Sludge
  • Mining & Mineral Rock
  • Sewers, Manholes & Septic Tanks
  • Basements & Underground Vaults and much more


Where Is H2S Located?

Also known as “sour gas, hydrosulphuric acid, sewer gas and stink damp,” H2S can be found in the oil and natural gas industries, hot springs, volcanic gases, and more. It is located in certain types of mineral rock and can occur in industries including sulphur production. H2S can result from organic matter breaking down without oxygen, such as in sewer and septic tank applications. As Hydrovac specialists, who work within a variety of industries including oil & gas, construction and drilling operations, our team is often operating within H2S rich locations. Safety is the top priority at Northern Vac Services. We ensure that our team has current training and operational safety detection gear when we are on-site. Personal monitoring systems are worn and sound an alarm if sour gas is detected. Never rely on anyone’s sense of smell to warn you of impending hydrogen sulfide danger, as our sense of smell can become damaged due to paralysis of the olfactory nerve.  By the time one actually smells a dangerous gas, it may be too late.

Health Effects of H2S Exposure

The “rotten egg” smell can become noticeable to certain members of the population when levels are between 0.01-1.5 ppm. At 3 to 5 ppm, the odor is reported to be stronger and more offensive. Levels above 30 ppm have been described as disgustingly sweet. Low doses can cause respiratory effects, irritation of the nose, throat and eyes. Moderate exposure to H2S can worsen respiratory issues, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, difficulty breathing, headache and coughing. High concentrations can lead to convulsions, shock, inability to breathe, coma and death. Effects can occur within moments of exposure. It is essential to ensure adequate air testing is conducted and that there is no Hydrogen Sulfide present within a space. Ventilating the area is necessary if gas is present. However, in many instances, ventilation cannot occur and the gas will not be removed. Appropriate PPE, personal protective equipment and respiratory protection need to be implemented along with adequate communication and rescue equipment. In certain locations, a SCBC or Self-contained Breathing Apparatus is necessary.


Northern Vac Services Believes In Health & Safety Training

Understanding where H2S may be lurking and how to safely navigate a potentially deadly environment is an essential safety issue within many of the industries we work closely with daily. Combo Vac, Straight Vac, Hydro Vac and Zero Entry Tank Cleaning are among our many specialties and services. Northern Vac Services is committed to continuing health and safety education. We proudly serve Fort St. John, Tumbler Ridge, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson and Surrounding Areas.

Contact Northern Vac Services today for all of your industrial transportation, hydrovac, water delivery, waste transportation and more!