Airborne occupational hazards in sewer systems by Amy Forsgren, Kristina Brinck

By Amy Forsgren, Kristina Brinck

Sewer platforms fall into the class "out of sight, out of brain" – they seldom excite curiosity. but if issues get it wrong with the air within the sewer method, they cross very fallacious. outcomes might be dramatic and devastating: sewer staff killed immediately via toxic gasoline once they carry a sewer lid, or whole suburban blocks levelled through explosions. This booklet describes the atmospheric risks usually present in the sewer process. It presents easily-understood causes of the technological know-how in the back of the risks, mixed with real-life examples of whilst issues went dramatically wrong.

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2007). Preventing deaths of farm workers in manure pits. NIOSH Publication No. 90-103. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control: Morgantown, WV. 1 Introduction This occurs only too often in our industry: A male city sewer employee entered a sewer by ladder. He complained of a strong odor and started to climb out, then collapsed and fell back into the hole. The man remained in the hole for several minutes before the body could be retrieved. Men at the scene reported a strong hydrogen sulfide odor.

The man remained in the hole for several minutes before the body could be retrieved. Men at the scene reported a strong hydrogen sulfide odor. [1] Hydrogen sulfide, H2S, is a deadly poison, as lethal as cyanide [2]. It can be created by the decomposition of organic matter, such as wastewater transported in a sewer network. H2S is the second most common cause of fatal gas inhalation exposures in the workplace, after carbon monoxide. 7% of such cases [3–5]. It is highly toxic: 100 ppm is deemed immediately dangerous to life and health.

7 The Myth of Harmless Knockdown It is sometimes stated in the literature, especially older reports, that if the victim of H2S poisoning survives, then recovery is prompt and complete [42,51]. There are very many documented cases proving this to be a false assumption [6,49,83]. It is possible that this confusion is the result of conflating two things: • A very large fraction of fatalities occur on the scene. • “Knockdown”—immediate, temporary unconsciousness caused by H2S. 1 Fatalities Occurring on the Scene A very large fraction of fatalities do occur on the scene.

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