The dangerous nature of confined spaces requires us to be hyper-vigilant regarding worker safety.
For those of you familiar with potentially hazardous atmospheres, you recognize that many hazardous gases are both colorless and odorless, which is why air monitoring is essential to your confined space safety program. But even if the hazardous gas has a fairly detectable odor, it can be misleading to rely on your sense of smell.
Many people think they can easily recognize the presence of hydrogen sulfide, one of the more common confined space toxic gases. The problem with this deadly gas is that its distinctive “rotten egg” odor is only perceptible at very low concentrations. At higher levels, hydrogen sulfide has a paralyzing effect on your sense of smell. Even at low concentrations, prolonged exposure can dull the olfactory nerves and make it impossible to accurately detect, even if concentrations suddenly increase.
Relying on your “sniffer” (the one on your face) to detect potentially hazardous atmospheres is non-sense! The only way to safely detect a hazardous atmosphere is with a calibrated direct reading instrument/air monitor/gas monitor as described in OSHA’s confined space standard 29 CFR 1910.146.
Check out our equipment rentals page for more information on our gas monitor rentals and get the right “sniffer” for the job!