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Contractors State License Board Encourages Natural Gas Project Safety

SACRAMENTO -The use of natural gas in any construction project requires extra caution and awareness, whether the work is being done inside or outside. The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is reminding all contractors about the changing properties of odorized natural gas that may become a deadly safety hazard.

Even though a distinctive sulfur-like odor is added to natural gas to assist in the detection of leaks, you should not rely solely on your sense of smell to determine whether a gas leak exists or if natural gas is present. Some people may not be able to detect the odorant because they have a diminished sense of smell, olfactory fatigue, or because the odor is masked by other odors in the area. Under certain conditions, "odor fade" may occur, which is when the odorant diminishes and is not detectable.

Odor fade is caused by physical and chemical processes-whether in new or existing pipe or in steel or plastic pipe-that can cause the odorant to lose its strength. Moisture, rust, liquids, surrounding soil, composition, pressure and flow are just some of the other factors that might diminish the natural gas "smell" and prevent you from recognizing a gas leak, putting you or your customers in danger.

Only licensed, qualified professionals should purge gas lines using gas detection equipment and making sure that the area is well-ventilated, whether connecting a household gas line to a new appliance or working with underground gas mains.

Detailed information on natural gas safety issues related to odor fade is available at either the Southern California Gas Company Web site: www.socalgas.com/safety or the San Diego Gas & Electric Company Web site: www.sdge.com/safety.

 

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