Companies Fined $90,000 after Exposing Workers to Hydrogen Sulphide

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An oil refinery hired a company to clean heat exchanger tubes. Two of the cleaning company’s workers placed two tubes into a sulfuric acid solution when their hydrogen sulphide monitors began sounding. Both workers suffered dizziness and disorientation, and briefly collapsed. They were taken to the hospital and released the same day. The MOL found that although the workers were wearing monitors to warn of any potential gas release, they weren’t wearing any PPE to protect them in the event of a release. In addition, they weren’t told they might be exposed to hydrogen sulphide gas as a result of cleaning the tubes in an acid bath. The refinery pleaded guilty to failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect his health and safety and was fined $40,000. The cleaning company pleaded guilty to failing to acquaint a worker, or a person in authority over a worker, with the hazard of hydrogen sulphide and was fined $50,000 [Shell Canada Limited/Shell Canada Limitée and CEDA International Corp., Govt. News Release, April 21, 2015].