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Hydrogen Sulfide Exposure Leads to Worker’s Death and Proposed Fines of over $400,000

EMSL Analytical provides air testing services, gas monitors and personal protective equipment to help protect workers from hazardous exposure risks.

Houston, TX – WEBWIRE

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited a Texas company for failing to protect workers from hydrogen sulfide (H2S) after an employee died following exposure to dangerous levels of the gas while working in a trench. According to an OSHA news release, the agency’s inspectors have determined that the company exposed employees to a hazardous atmosphere, failed to train employees on the health hazards of hydrogen sulfide, and did not drain water from the trench where the incident occurred. The company reportedly faces possible penalties up to $422,000.

Hydrogen sulfide is heavier than air so it can travel along the ground and collect in low-lying, enclosed and poorly-ventilated areas. The gas occurs naturally in crude petroleum, natural gas and hot springs. It is also produced by the microbial breakdown of organic materials, including human and animal wastes. Industrial activities that can produce hydrogen sulfide include petroleum and natural gas drilling, refining, wastewater treatment, coke ovens, tanneries and some types of paper mill processing.

“Hydrogen sulfide is flammable and toxic, particularly in confined spaces such as trenches, manholes, underground telephone vaults and sewers,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “In these types of scenarios, employers are required to test the air to detect the presence of the gas, use exhaust systems to reduce hydrogen sulfide levels, train workers on hazards and control methods, and provide personal protective equipment if the control methods used are not sufficient to reduce hydrogen sulfide levels.”

Companies with workers in occupations where they could be exposed to hydrogen sulfide need to implement the appropriate procedures to identify hazards, provide monitoring and the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). EMSL Analytical, Inc. has hydrogen sulfide testing services, field monitoring equipment and a wide range of PPE. EMSL has even sponsored an educational video about hydrogen sulfide and exposure risks that can be seen at:

To learn more about air quality testing, monitoring instruments or personal protective equipment, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 46 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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 Hydrogen sulfide
 occupational safety
 crude petroleum
 natural gas
 industrial hygiene

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