Lawsuits have been filed for oil and gas workers who were injured or killed by hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a highly-toxic gas that is poisonous to breathe.
Need a Texas Hydrogen Sulfide Injury Lawyer? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you were injured or a loved one died from hydrogen sulfide poisoning, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit.
What is Hydrogen Sulfide?
Hydrogen Sulfide (or H2S) is a colorless gas that smells like “rotten eggs” even at low levels. It is extremely flammable and highly toxic.
The gas occurs naturally in oil and gas wells, sewers, manure pits, well water, and volcanoes. Hydrogen sulfide is also heavier than air, so it can accumulate in low-lying enclosed spaces.
Oil & Gas Workers Have High Risk of Death From H2S
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) occurs naturally in crude oil. For people who work in the oil and gas industry, it is essential to prevent exposure to hydrogen sulfide — especially in the most dangerous settings, such as sour-gas fields, natural gas deposits, and the sweetening process.
What is the Risk?
One of the biggest risks is the “knockdown” effect, where workers are hit by high levels of H2S gas and immediately lose consciousness and collapse, or fall. This can quickly cause death due to a lack of oxygen.
The risk is even higher for lone workers, who may be inspecting sites in remote areas. If there is a H2S leak, they may not realize it until it is too late — and if they are overcome, they will not be able to get help.
100+ Deaths Linked to H2S Poisoning in Oil & Gas Industry
From 2001 to 2017, the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics reported 106 worker deaths from hydrogen sulfide exposure. Many deaths could be prevented with the use of proper safety equipment, such as ventilators, masks, and H2S gas detectors (including fixed and personal detectors).
Sour Gas Processing and H2S Exposure
Sour gas is natural gas that contains high levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S). As the demand for natural gas increases, sour gas field extraction becomes more profitable. The problem is that sour gas is much more corrosive than natural gas, so more maintenance is required on the pipelines and other infrastructure. Consequently, the people who work in sour gas fields face a higher risk of H2S poisoning.
Health Effects of Hydrogen Sulfide Exposure
People who enter an enclosed space where H2S has accumulated can rapidly lose consciousness and die, but even low-level exposure to H2S can cause health effects. The health risks of low-level exposure include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Coughing or difficulty breathing
- Eye irritation
High levels of exposure to hydrogen sulfide can cause:
- Eye damage
- Lung damage
- “Knockdown” or immediate collapse
- Breathing stops
Long-Term Effects of H2S Gas Poisoning
Hydrogen sulfide poisoning can have severe long-term effects, including brain damage and nerve damage. For example, studies have shown that H2S poisons the brain, which can result in permanent memory problems, headaches, slower reaction-times, trouble balancing, poor attention-span, or low energy.
OSHA Cites Texas Company After Deadly Hydrogen Sulfide Accident
In April 2023, OSHA issued a $39,064 fine on the Texas-based company Production Waste Solutions LLC after an employee died of hydrogen sulfide exposure.
The accident occurred in September 2022, when the employee was overcome by the toxic gas while sucking sludge water and oil byproducts from a sump pit without wearing protective equipment.
According to OSHA Area Director Diego Alvarado:
“This terrible loss could have been prevented if Production Waste Solutions LLC had followed established safety procedures and provided federally required training and equipment.”
Deadly Hydrogen Sulfide Gas Leak Kills Oil Worker & Wife
In March 2022, a federal grand jury indicted the Texas-based oil company Aghorn Operating and its Vice President after a hydrogen sulfide gas leak killed a worker and his wife.
The accident occurred in October 2019, when Jacob Dean was called out to check on a pump house. Once inside, he was immediately knocked unconscious by high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas.
When he did not return home, his wife put their two children in the car and went to check on him. She was killed while walking up to the pump house.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice indictment: “Aghorn was aware that its produced water contained high amounts of H₂S as well as the deadly nature of the gas.” And although the pump house had eight H₂S monitors, none of them were working on the night of the accident.
Need a Hydrogen Sulfide Poisoning Lawyer in Texas?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”
The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years of experience, participation in over 600 jury trials, and $260 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact our law firm for a free case review.