Claims of Hydrogen Sulfide Exposure
Experienced Houston Personal Injury Lawyers
Hydrogen sulfide is a toxin that can kill workers if the levels of the chemicals are not carefully monitored. Most often, hydrogen sulfide is released from sewage sludge, sulfur hot springs, with natural gas, and in liquid manure. Low levels of the gas emit an odor resembling rotten eggs. However, high levels of hydrogen sulfide are odorless. At high concentrations, the gas can cause instantaneous collapse and sudden death. Even at lower levels, exposure results in irritating and dangerous symptoms. It can cause eye infections, respiratory irritation, and nausea. If you are an industrial worker, it is important to know where hydrogen sulfide is and how you can work to avoid exposure.
Workplaces at Risk to Hydrogen Sulfide Exposure
OSHA says that all workers need to be cautious of the dangers of hydrogen sulfide. This gas is present in many workplace atmospheres. Those in poorly ventilated areas can be seriously harmed because of hydrogen sulfide.
Some of the places where the gas is typically present include:
- Petroleum and production refining sites
- Food processing plants
- Hot asphalt paving projects
- Mining locations
- Sewer and water treatment plants
- Agricultural silos and pits
- Textile manufacturing locations
- Pulp and paper processing plants
Workers at Risk to Hydrogen Sulfide Exposure
There are certain industries put workers more at risk than others. OSHA has marked certain careers that have higher likelihood of exposure.
Workers who face an increased risk of exposure include:
- Sanitation workers
- Farm workers
- Maritime workers
- Oil miners
Workers that are employed in marshy landscapes can be at risk for exposure because a bacterium in these areas often breaks down organic matter to produce the gas. Also, workers who are in confined spaces where hydrogen sulfide could build up to dangerous levels should be careful. This includes those that work in pits, manholes, tunnels, or wells, as well as any job taking place in a poorly-ventilated space.
Hydrogen sulfide is heavier than air, so it sinks--putting workers in low-lying areas at risk. Hot weather increases the vapor pressure of the gas.
Seek Compensation for Hydrogen Sulfide Exposure
If you have been exposed to hydrogen sulfide at dangerous levels because your supervisor failed to address high levels of the gas at your workplace, you deserve compensation. In the past, hydrogen sulfide has been responsible for killing workers throughout the United States. OSHA tries to reduce the possibility of hydrogen sulfide exposure by citing companies that are not careful to mitigate risk.
In 2011, OSHA cited an excavation and utilities company at a Gordon, Texas facility following a fatality. Also, OSHA cited 5 companies for exposing employees to the dangerous gas at a work site in Eustace, Texas. In 2010, OSHA reprimanded Matula & Matula, a construction company in Lake Jackson after a worker died from hydrogen sulfide exposure on the job. Another individual died in 2010 in Douglasville at Enbridge G&P.
If you have been injured or if your loved one died from this tragic gas exposure, turn to the compassionate Houston personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin today! Contact our firm.