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Occupationally related hydrogen sulfide deaths in the United States from 1984 to 1994.
J Occup Environ Med 2000 Sep; 42(9):939-942
Alice Hamilton described fatal work injuries from acute hydrogen sulfide poisonings in 1925 in her book Industrial Poisons in the United States. There is no unique code for H2S poisoning in the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision; therefore, these deaths cannot be identified easily from vital records. We reviewed US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation records for the period 1984 to 1994 for mention of hazardous substance 1480 (hydrogen sulfide). There were 80 fatalities from hydrogen sulfide in 57 incidents, with 19 fatalities and 36 injuries among coworkers attempting to rescue fallen workers. Only 17% of the deaths were at workplaces covered by collective bargaining agreements. OSHA issued citations for violation of respiratory protection and confined space standards in 60% of the fatalities. The use of hydrogen sulfide detection equipment, air-supplied respirators, and confined space safety training would have prevented most of the fatalities.
Poison-gases; Poisons; Mortality-data; Mortality-rates; Sulfides; Injuries; Acute-exposure; Gas-detectors; Respirators; Confined-spaces; Training; Safety-education; Standards
Dr Douglas C. Fuller, Occupational Medicine Program, University of Utah School of Medicine, 75 South 2000 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112
Issue of Publication
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division