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Real-Life Incident: Nick’s Story – H2S Tragedy Averted

Blackline Safety Leader in Connected Gas Detection & Lone Worker Safety April 19, 2023

“My life was not another statistic.” 

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is an extremely flammable and toxic gas that may cause rapid loss of consciousness and difficulty breathing without warning. H2S fatality statistics

Workers in the waste management, petroleum and natural gas industries – where H2S builds up in sewers or is a by-product of energy extraction – are particularly vulnerable. Victims are predominantly in their first year of employment with the company. Almost a quarter of them die while trying to rescue a co-worker*.

Nick knows these statistics all too well. He was almost one of them.

In June 2022, Blackline Safety’s Safety Operations Center (SOC) in Calgary, Canada responded to a gas exposure alert triggered by one of their monitored devices at a pipeline terminal in rural Texas. An SOC agent contacted the wearer and discovered he was with two other co-workers repairing equipment. One was unconscious due to suspected H2S inhalation, and immediate emergency services were required.

oil-worker-h2s-gas-exposure-real-life oil-worker-h2s-gas-exposure-safety-monitoring
Thanks to the G7c multi-gas detector Nick’s co-worker was wearing, the agent was able to provide vital information to EMS dispatch on their exact GPS location alongside the level of gas exposure from the gas readings on the device, which led to a faster and more informed response. Nick's co-workers also received instruction to relocate to an air-conditioned area nearby to await help.

“I was completely passed out,” said Nick. “Had my co-worker’s device not automatically triggered an alert from gas exposure, they might not have known they were in danger too. The SOC helped us get fast emergency services support and stayed on the line until everything was ok,” said Nick. 

That’s something Nick—and his co-workers, family and friends—are thankful for every day.
*(2004) “Co-worker fatalities from hydrogen sulfide”, American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

This real-life incident is a true story, but names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of the people involved.

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