Lighting a candle to cover up a bad smell is usually a quick solution to a common problem. However, if you smell rotten eggs while you’re at work, don’t light a candle! That smell could be mercaptan, a chemical added to natural gas to make people aware of a leak. Discover what to do when there’s a natural gas leak at work.
Leave the Building
If you smell rotten eggs, you need to get out of the area quickly. Most of the compounds in natural gas aren’t poisonous, but they can cause suffocation if they replace too much oxygen in the air. Plus, natural gas is extremely flammable, even at very low levels. When you notice a leak, you need to get to safety.
Should You Warn Your Coworkers?
If there are other people in the vicinity, you should absolutely warn them to get out of the building. However, don’t spend too long looking for people to warn. Once you get outside, you can call emergency services and those responders will make sure everyone is evacuated.
Don’t Touch Anything Electrical
On your way out of the building, it may be tempting to turn off the lights or use a phone to call your supervisor, but you shouldn’t do that. Even a small spark or static electricity from a light switch is enough to ignite natural gas. Make sure you’re well away from the building before you call anyone.
Once you’re outside the building, call 911 and let them know there’s a potential gas leak. Emergency responders will make sure everyone gets out of the building and that no one else goes inside. They can also block off streets to ensure everyone stays safe.
Call the Gas Company
If you know which company owns the gas lines near your workplace, give them a call so they can come out and address the leak. If you don’t know which gas company to contact, call your supervisor to notify them of what’s happened so they can reach out to the appropriate party. The faster the gas company finds out about the leak, the sooner they can fix it.
Remember These Things To Avoid
Because natural gas is flammable, you need to make sure you don’t use anything that could start a fire. That means avoiding these things while you’re around the leak:
- Power cords
Don’t Go to the Parking Garage
If your building has an attached parking garage, avoid going there because that’s where the leak could be coming from. Once the gas company arrives, they should be able to detect a gas leak in your parking garage with gas monitors and other devices.
We hope these instructions for what to do when there’s a natural gas leak at work are helpful. Remember that the most important things you can do are get to safety and contact emergency services.