Hydrogen sulfide is produced naturally from decaying organic matter. It can be released from sewage sludge, liquid manure, and sulfur hot springs, and with natural gas. It is also used or is a by-product in many industrial processes such as:
Many workers are at risk for exposure to hydrogen sulfide, especially when working in confined spaces. For example,
In general, working in the following areas and conditions increases a worker’s risk of overexposure to hydrogen sulfide:
For more information on the workplaces that face hydrogen sulfide hazards:
OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletins (SHIBs)
Recent OSHA Citations
A 49-year old sanitation worker died when rescuing a co-worker from an underground sewer vault when he was overcome with hydrogen sulfide gas.
Workers who entered a 27-foot deep pit in a marshy area died after being overcome by hydrogen sulfide.
Workers died clearing debris from an underground sewer pipe. Both were overwhelmed by hydrogen sulfide gas. They were 19 and 25 years old.
Two workers died at an oil field water injection plant while replacing a water transfer pump. Hydrogen sulfide was released when a clamp was removed.
A 25-year old waste hauling service worker died after collapsing in an underground manure waste pit. The pit had a square access opening fitted with a removable stainless steel cover. The pit was not equipped with any type of ventilation system or gas monitoring equipment.
Four workers died in an underground lift station that collected leachate from a landfill. One worker entered to replace a sump pump and was overcome by hydrogen sulfide gas. A second, then third, and finally fourth worker entered to attempt rescue. All were overcome and died in the permit-required confined space. A permit entry system had not been established.
*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.
All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300.
**eBooks - EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.Back to Top
The Department of Labor does not endorse, takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over the linked organization or its views, or contents, nor does it vouch for the accuracy or accessibility of the information contained on the destination server. The Department of Labor also cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked Web sites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked Web site. Thank you for visiting our site. Please click the button below to continue.