Wyoming Wind Sock

September 22, 2016
A windy day

Windsocks are currently being used in the Oil and Gas Industry as one tool to save lives. In many industries throughout the world, workers are being asked to perform their jobs at worksites that have airborne hazards present. The deadly gas H2S has been found and is a problem in areas such as Los Angeles Basin in California, the Overthrust Basin of Idaho and Wyoming, Parradox Basin in the Northeastern corner of Utah. The Big Horne and Wind River Basins are also found in Wyoming. Other areas such as the Williston Basin in North Dakota, Illinois Basin, Appalachian Basin and the Michigan Basin are all experiencing the effects of Hydrogen Sulfide. The area of the United States that has the most prevalent concentrations is in New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. The airborne hazard present in the Oil and Gas Industry is hydrogen sulfide. H2S, as it is referred to, is colorless, heavier than air, and in high concentrations has little or no smell. H2S in concentrations as low as 300-600 ppm will kill you with one breathe. In lower concentrations this deadly gas will cause eye irritation and shortness of breath. Workers routinely perform maintenance duties and daily activities in the presence of this deadly gas. They perform their job in atmospheres that are Immediate Danger to Life and Health (IDLH). Along with fresh air work units, personal monitors, and use of windsocks, oilfield workers are able to work safe with very few incidents. The windsocks are used by the workers to determine wind direction. This is especially helpful to aid in the determination of the Safe Zone. Windsocks are installed on tank batteries, gang trucks, drilling rigs, pulling units, water stations, satellite stations and entrances to fields or locations. Although Hydrogen Sulfide gas is a dangerous, toxic gas it can be worked with safely. Knowing the wind direction by using a windsock is one of your first lines of defense to working safely in the Oil and Gas Industry.

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