Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tools of the Trade

H2S sensor

This is required PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) along with my hard hat and safety goggles and steel toe boots and flame resistant clothing. It monitors the H2S level in the air and I wear it on my shirt. 10ppm is the level we can work at for 8 hours with no effect. 15 ppm is only acceptable for 15 minute intervals. 100 ppm will leave you dizzy and sick. 600 ppm will kill you by crystallizing your lungs in a second. The wells I have been frequenting are either "closed in" or not pumping and have no risk...or are pumping and have the potential for 7000-11000 ppm. I say potential because the gas is contained in the tanks and a pipeline although there is always a residual smell of rotten eggs which is a characteristic of H2S. I have no idea where the pipeline goes.

The gas flares near all the pumping wells are excess H2S being burned off. I'm not completely up to speed on the engineering and containment of the gas but I know it is present in the tanks and pipeline and could vent at any time into a deadly gas cloud. That's what the safety personnel are for. We watch the wind socks to give us an idea of which way to run if an alarm should go off. You run upwind and hold your breath. If someone falls then you find 2 emergency air packs and then go back to get them. I hope that doesn't happen.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.