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Archive for the H2S Tag

H2S Alive Edition 7 Enform

Allstar Enviro Safety has been facilitating the H2S Alive Program for over 2 decades in Alberta.


The development of this program was developed by petroleum industry Training Service or PITS as a means of education oil and gas personnel to the dangers of hydrogen sulphide gas. The toxic, flammable, explosive and corrosive gas was responsible for many injuries, knockdowns and deaths.


During the early years of petroleum exploration in Western Canada, many deaths were considered hear attacks. Equipment was breaking down from the corrosive effects of H2S and the Public was regularly exposed to this environmental pollutant that was released from kicks and blow outs.


Pressure from public concern and several blowouts in the Lodgepole area of Alberta helped stakeholders to collect essential and often, unknown information about the health hazards to both the public, environment, materials, equipment and workers alike.


In 1988, PITS released the first edition of the H2S Alive training program. In 2013, the latest edition was released which approaches this subject with a more proactive perspective. This is in comparison to the reactive training of the past, where H2S would be released and the 7 step initial response was the emphasis. To be proactive, the use of a Hazard Assessment, Risk assessment and Control was added.


New workers who are not aware of conducting a field Level hazard assessment or how to reduce hazards by developing a hierarchy of controls are better educated in the process after completion of the program. More emphasis on electronic monitoring and the removal of CPR from the program are several updates to Edition 7.


It is still a 6 – 8 hour program. Upon successful completion of the theory and physical skills and writing a closed book exam, a 3 month temporary ticket is awarded. The mailing of permanent 3 year tickets has been expedited with a faster mailout system directly to the student or their employer after certification.


Enroll today with Allstar Enviro Safety, your safety training pros!

H2S knockdown encounter

I am a client of Allstar Enviro Safety. I told the instructor about my friend who was working in the Oil Sands as a Foreman Scaffolder. Two of his apprentices passed out due to exposure to H2S gas. Without getting respiratory protection, the foreman went to the aid of his fellow workers. Little did he know that they had already passed out from the Hydrogen sulphide exposure. He dragged these men to safety and passed out afterwards.


The foreman spend a lengthy time in the hospital getting better but was told by the physician that he may have taken 10-15 years off his life due to the H2S exposure!


Ryan Verboom Story told July 2014

History of Well Blow-Outs in Alberta and H2S Alive

The history of well blow-out in Alberta is interesting reading, and is the reason for the current H2S Alive Edition 7 training course, as this was the response by industry to these tragedies.

In the 1920s it was a common practice of oil well drilling to burn unwanted gas in a flare pit. Turner Valley is SW of  Calgary and was nicknamed Hells Half Acre. This deposit contained sour gas, and H2S was emitted after separating the liquid hydrocarbons into the atmosphere through tall smoke stacks. The area smelled like rotten eggs.
This disgusting smell was also toxic, even in trace quantities… but it smelled like money to the oil barons of the time.
Canada,’s first blowout was in Ontario in 1862 and showed that big discoveries of oil and gas often came with terrible accidents and exposures to the public.
The Alberta petroleum industry is marked with blowouts that leaked oil and gas through derricks in the drilling process as far back as 1948.  40 kilometers southwest of downtown Edmonton, a geyser of oil soared, propelling high pressures columns of petroleum crude oil. This tossed pieces of machinery into the air and leaked pollutants into the atmosphere, blanketing farmer’s property.  The well which was owned by Atlantic Oil Company, spilled more than a million barrels of oil.  Workers were hired to snuff out fires under boilers that drove the drilling rigs steam-powered engines.  It took 6 months to plug the well. The blowout vented over 10 billion cubic feet of gas into the atmosphere. The blowout provided a lesson in the importance of emergency planning, when the crude caught fire and sent enormous columns of smoke into Southern Edmonton.
Since this time, blowout preventers and safety equipment are tested rigorously during drilling operations.
The public was very upset with the oil companies who choose production over their safety concerns. This caused corporate shares to plummet and drilling bans. There was a rush to create new safety protocols to match the frenzy of drilling in Alberta.  The petroleum and natural gas conservation board began in late 1938 to minimize excessive flaring.  The name changed over time to ERCB, EUB  and then to the current AER – Alberta Energy Regulators.
Our current stricter sour gas drilling regulations where the result of the infamous Lodgepole incident in 1982 near Drayton valley. This was the location of the worst sour gas blowout in Canada     This blowout killed 3 well control specialists and was burning out of control for two months. A comprehensive survey and review of sour gas drilling procedures was initiated. As a result, a national suite of standards on emergency response created new regulations and improvements.
Atlantic Number 3 produced another blowout in Alberta that cased a 3 day fire and energized the push to regulate drilling procedures. Stricter industry operating guidelines were passed at that time. Since 2000, the Board has closed 1264 facilities that didn’t meet proper regulatory requirements.
When gas or oil, loaded with Hydrogen Sulphide Gas, is onsite while drilling, the regulations are strict.  Companies must stop the drilling process to do safety checks prior to drilling into sour zones that are on top of oil formations which likely contain deadly H2S. A field inspector might conduct a thorough rig inspection and see that a test of the shutdown procedures in case of emergency is undertaken.
Not only do the employees need to be able to handle a blowout properly, they are required to obtain a series of safety tickets, such as H2S Alive. There are numerous penalties for lacking proper credentials, such as shutting down a rig.
Allstar Enviro Safety runs weekly classes on hydrogen sulphide gas safety for workers. This 6 – 8 hour program was designed by ENFORM to create a consistent training format for people in the petroleum and related industries that could be exposed to H2S gas.
 This course is the result of safety standards that were came as the result of H2S Releases in Alberta in its history of drilling incidents. While safety training and emergency response procedures are common practice today, Alberta’s history of worker and public protection was very different decades ago.
Besides public protection and avoidance of pollution, the other benefit of H2S Alive training include proper education for our workers who have the right to avoid the toxic, flammable, explosive and corrosive effects of this dangerous nerve gas!

How to Seek Employment in Alberta’s Lucrative Petroleum and Construction Job Market

One of the most frequent questions I am asked as a Safety Consultant is:
“How can I get Employment in  Alberta’s lucrative job market” ?
Alberta’s booming economy offers great prospects for career opportunities,
particularly in the Petroleum and Construction trades in the next years.
With the highest economic growth of all the provinces, there are 275,000 direct and
indirect  oil and gas jobs to be filled.
When I talk to employers who book safety courses for their staff and contractors they are looking to hire:
a) Tradespeople, such as Carpenters, Heavy Equipment Operators, Mechanics,
     Truck drivers, Electricians,  Instrumentation technologists,  scaffolders, construction laborers. READ MORE

Oil and Gas Specialists Not Aware of New H2S Exposure Limitations According to Survey

The majority of the oil and gas market specialists who took a study carried out by  the American Society of Safety Engineers showed they were not knowledgeable about brand-new hydrogen sulfide (H2S) exposure limitations suggested by the ACGIH. The gas detection producer launched the outcomes of their survey.
In addition, the study revealed that 76 percent of these experts felt there is no urgency to embrace the brand-new requirements, and their business make use of a range of alarm system levels, just 24 percent have actually adjusted their H2S restrictions within the last 3 years. Just 34 percent expect adjusting their existing H2S restrictions in the near future,” according to the business’s information release.

To learn more about H2S restrictions get certified at

Many Oil & Gas Safety Pros Unaware of New H2S Standards

Many Oil & & Gas Safety Pros Unaware of New H2S Standards
More than half of the oil and gas market security experts who took a recent study carried out by Dräger and the American Society of Safety Engineers indicated they were not familiar with brand-new hydrogen sulfide (H2S) exposure restrictions advised by the …
Learn more on Occupational Health and wellness

Are Oil and Gas EHS Professionals Prepared for New Hydrogen Sulfide
A cool survey from the American Society of Security Engineers and Dräger discovered that more than half the EHS experts in the oil and gas industry were unaware or not really prepared to satisfy a brand-new TLV for hydrogen sulfide. Dec. 20, 2013 Sandy Smith & middot; E-MAIL.
Find out more on EHS Today

H2S – Safety Training to Protect Workers

 Hydrogen SulfideH2S Alive Training Course Calgary

H2S is one of the leading safety related concerns in the petroleum industry in Alberta.  In addition,  it is prevalent in pulp and paper mills, barges, sewer systems,  land fills, waste water treatment  facilities and pig farms.  As a result of its toxic and flammable characteristics,  emphasis has been placed on safety procedures when working around this naturally occurring gas.  Its main route of  entry is by inhalation which can lead to pulmonary edema, conjunctivitis of the eyes, respiratory problems,  and if  in enough concentration to a worker’s death.

Hydrogen sulfide gas  is colourless in nature and has a repulsive rotten-egg smell at smaller concentrations.  People become exposed to it when they inhale it, which can cause respiratory and cardiac failure.  Due to its corrosive properties, is also damaging to mucous membranes. It can form sulfuric acid on contact with sinus cavities and eyes . causing severe burns to human tissue . H2S is a secondary byproduct of many industrial processes but it is also generated when an organic matter decomposes.  Because it is a little denser than air it is particularly dangerous in confined spaces  or low-lying areas.  Examples of potential areas where it might accumulate are under the sub structure of a drilling rig or in the mud tanks.  In plants, it can depressurize from valves, seals, unions, thief hatches, sample valves, pipes or in high pressure buildings such as compressors, dehydrators, separators or treater units.   In temperatures of 260oC (500F) or even lower, hydrogen sulfide can exhibit explosive reactions.  Its flammable range is approximately 42%, with a lower explosive limit of only 4.3% when mixed with air. Static electricity and flammable vapours can result in ignition, so it is important to use intrinsically safe equipment when working near potential areas for the gas.

It is commonly called sewer gas , stink damp or sour gas or by its other spelling “hydrogen sulphide”.   Burning it can produce an even more explosive, toxic and corrosive gas, sulphur dioxide, which can be seen above flare stacks.   Both gases are serious environmental concerns and are closely monitored by environmental agencies.

It is a Deadly Poisonous

Hydrogen sulfide is extremely poisonous to carbon based life forms. When you breathe it in through your lungs, it enters into your bloodstream. In order for your body to protect itself, it strives to break the gas down very quickly into a non-harmful compound. Poisoning of the blood begins when the rate at which the gas is absorbed becomes higher than the rate at which it is removed from the blood. It is a nerve gas, classified as a chemical axphiant, causing respiratory failure in low does.