Although every workplace should conduct yearly safety training, it’s important for individual employees to stay vigilant year-round. Many workplace hazards, like gas leaks, are unexpected and require employees to pay attention to their surroundings. Learn what you need to know about gas leaks in the workplace so you can protect yourself and your coworkers.
Rotten Egg Smells Aren’t Always Reliable
While it’s true that natural gas often smells like rotten eggs, don’t think you’re safe just because you can’t smell anything. The signs of a gas leak include sounds, like air escaping from a pipe, and sometimes visual indicators. These can include things like dead grass, dying office plants, and paper or grass blowing around.
Why Does Natural Gas Smell?
Natural gas doesn’t actually have an odor or a color, which makes it incredibly dangerous. To better help people detect leaks, gas companies add a harmless chemical called mercaptan that makes the gas smell like rotten eggs.
Gas Leaks Are Harmful to Your Health
If you think you’ve detected a gas leak, don’t ignore it. Breathing in natural gas can cause short-term problems like headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Over a longer period of time, natural gas exposure can cause more significant problems, like memory loss and even loss of consciousness.
Gas Leaks Can Happen Anywhere
Some people associate gas leaks with industrial facilities, and it’s true that leaks are more common in these kinds of environments. However, your office building could have a gas heater that you don’t know about, which is one reason to stay vigilant no matter where you work.
What To Do When You Discover a Gas Leak
If you suspect your workplace has a gas leak, tell your supervisor and encourage them to evacuate everyone from the property. Don’t take the time to open windows and air out the building—you never know how high the concentration of natural gas may be. Once you’re safely removed from the property, alert your building’s gas company so they can repair the leak.
Hopefully, this list of things to know about gas leaks in the workplace will help you keep yourself and your coworkers safe. Remain alert and ask others around you to do the same.