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What do I need to do to update my H2S training?

By James O'Dwyer | Last updated: December 12, 2017
Presented by PEC Safety

This is a great question, and a timely one, since new standards have been approved by the American National Standards Institute recently, and the issue of compliance must be address according to ANSI/ASSE Z390.1—2017. This new standard outlines standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States that relate to the use of Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) in the workplace.

Because Hydrogen Sulfide is one of the leading causes of workplace gas inhalation deaths in the United States, general federal safety standards for H2S aren't anything new (learn more about The Top 4 Pathways for Chemical Exposure). The new standards have become more specific and contain new clarifications for employers.

So what do you need to do?

To start with (and now more than ever), get professional industry standard advice on how to proceed to get the upgraded H2S training, and you'll need to get it every year from now on. Ask questions, and don't be afraid to keep asking until you receive all the clarification you need (stay in the know with Dangerous Goods Awareness).


If you had good H2S training prior to this, you already know well that this gas is extremely flammable, deadly toxic at certain levels, and is colorless and odorless. You know that this is serious business, so make sure that the industry training representative you contact is qualified.

Here are some questions to ask anyone who offers you an H2S training program:

Does this training meet the new minimum required course length?

Your new H2S training course must be a minimum of 3-4 hours in length.

Does this training program meet the new standards for the scope of what is included in the course?

New standards for course requirements contain recommended exercises and drills, information on the properties and characteristics of H2S, and identification of the sources of H2S and job site areas of potential exposure. The course should contain typical site-specific safe work practices associated with H2S operations and detection methods for H2S. There will be engineering/mitigation controls at the source, as well as important information on the selection, use and care of personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate for atmospheres containing H2S concentrations above the applicable occupational exposure limit.

Will this training provide certification?

There is only one level of H2S Certified training, according to new standards. H2S certification is only valid for one year (annual certification refresher needed). The training must be documented and a H2S Certification card stating ANSI Z390 compliant must be presented to course attendees.

Will this training be in person with a qualified instructor?

H2S training course must be instructor led—computer based training (CBT) no longer meets the standard. The H2S instructor’s Train the Trainer must meet new minimum requirements.

H2S poisoning fatalities in several different industries are reported every year. These continued discrepancies and workplace accidents established a demand for this year’s Z390.1 standard revisions.

Make sure that the program you take part in for H2S training meets all the new standards. These standards were developed by industry experts and professionals for the benefit of the worker, to save lives.

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Written by James O'Dwyer | Master Instructor

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With over 20 years invested in safety and training, James O’Dwyer’s professional background reads like an industry dream: 18 years of QHSE experience, 10 years of international E&P and mining-related field experience, and he served as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Missing Women’s Taskforce HSE for Canada’s largest crime scene. Currently, James is a Master PEC Instructor and part of the company’s Regulatory Outreach Business Development Team. With such dedication to safety and training, James works to continually develop professional networks to help implement partnerships between industry and professional trainers throughout the country.

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