We all heard four tragic incidents in industries in India in a day, forcing us to think, are we serious about Industrial Safety? Haven’t we learned anything from the Bhopal Gas Tragedy?
If we thought we are suffering the worst due to Corona Pandemic and lockdown miseries, Wednesday 6th May and Thursday 7th May have given us more than worst. Horrifying images of people gasping to breathe, vomiting, and falling unconscious on the roads, sidewalks, and in ditches and workers in intense pain of severe burning are other nightmares.
4 tragic incidents within 48 hours,
- Vizag Gas Leakage at Venkatapuram.
- Chhattisgarh Gas leakage at Tetla Village.
- Tamilnadu Boiler Blast at Cuddalore.
- Nashik Fire in a Factory at Satpur.
In all the four cases mishaps happened in the process of cleaning for opening up on relaxations are announced after lockdown.
In the last one, any demise or injury is not reported. There was a major fire that broke out on Thursday around 7 p.m. in a Pharmaceutical Packaging Factory at Satpur near Nasik in Maharashtra. Reasons for breaking out of fire are ascertained till now.
In Tamilnadu, there was a massive blast in a boiler in TS II Power Plant at Neyveli around 5 p.m. on Thursday. Prime investigation stated that the explosion is due to increased pressure in the boiler. About 10 workers suffered from burns. 2 workers are in critical condition.
At Chhattisgarh gas leakage in Shakti Paper Mills at Tetla Village, Raigarh on Thursday night, mill management failed to inform the police department or call for safety in time. Hospital authority reports police when 11 people were hospitalized with 3 of them in serious condition. Again the reason for leakage is ascertained.
The blood-curdling accident that traumatized the world is The Gas Leakage at LG Polymers at Venkatpuram, Vizag (British name for Visakhapatnam).
On Thursday, May 7, 2020, about 2:30 a.m. there was leakage of styrene gas from a tank. 2000 workers were there at the factory premises and about 3000 inhabitants were in an area about 1 to 2 km. Styrene, when it comes in contact with oxygen, turns lethal and it affects people who inhaled it or came in direct contact with it. During those hours, many people inhaled the gas in sleep. On getting suffocation they rushed out to gasp fresh air but Alas! They inhaled more deadly gas.
- Prima facie it is concluded that tanks were remained unattended due to lockdown since March 2020.
- Further investigation reports that there is a technical glitch in the refrigeration system, hence a rise in temperature causes evaporation of gas.
- Malfunctioning of valves of the tank. Preliminary investigation also suggested that the valve controls were not handled properly and burst causing leakage.
- Fault in siren. It was also noticed that the warning alarm Siren was not working.
- The investigation is in progress, and who knows what more faulty practice comes out?
Vizag Incident makes everybody think, “Is Industrial Safety being compromised?”
What is Styrene Gas?
- Styrene gas is used to prepare Polystyrene (a versatile plastic). It is a colorless gas with a sweet odor.
- It is volatile in nature.
- Though the factory management is claiming it as less poisonous gas, it turns lethal when comes to contact with oxygen.
- Its first blow of inhalation causes breathing problems, rashes on the body, vomiting, sour eyes, and unconsciousness.
- In the second blow, (more inhalation), wheezing, air hunger, suffocation are observed.
- In the third blow, irritation in the mucous membrane, gastrointestinal effects are seen.
- In the fourth blow, long term exposure to Styrene affects the central nervous system, causing headache, fatigue, CNS dysfunction, and peripheral neuropathy ultimately death occurs.
- There is also an increase in the risk of Leukemia and lymphoma.
- Though these effects of Styrene are inconclusive on humans but they are proved to be affected to animals.
- EPA( Environmental Protection Agency) U. S. has described Styrene as “a Suspected Toxin to the gastrointestinal tract, kidney, and respiratory system, highly toxic and known carcinogen”.
What are Treatments & Precautions for Styrene Gas exposure?
- Wash skin and eyes with plenty of water.
- Use breathing support.
- Cover nose and mouth with a wet cloth or mask.
- Spray water in the surrounding area to neutralize the gas.
- AP Police suggested in a tweet that consumption of banana and jaggery with milk is useful to reduce the effects of the gas.
- CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and nuclear) team from Pune and Medical Specialists from various places rushed to Vizag, to offer technical and medical support to local authorities.
- Teams of experts from CSIR (Council Of Scientific and Industrial Research) working round o’clock.
- 500 kgs of Para Tertiary Butyl Catechol, a chemical that can neutralize effects of Styrene gas, is brought from Vapi, Gujrat.
At Least 15 people were killed and over five thousand people fell sick and the death poll is still rising.
VIZAG GAS TRAGEDY bring back memories of BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY, “World’s worst industrial disaster” when more than three thousand peoples were killed and lakhs were affected permanently by Methyl Isocyanate Gas leaked out from Union Carbide Plant in Bhopal in December 1984.
Is Industrial Safety Being compromised?
In a developing country like India, the least attention is given to worker’s safety. Industrialists and company owners do not care to appoint well Trained, Certified Safety Officers. The budget provision is the lowest for the implementation of the Safety System.
- Owing to the above mishaps industries must meet safety regulations and requirements regularly.
- Apart from regular Inspection, frequent checks should be scheduled.
- Place a fixed leakage detection system at strategic points.
- Recruit certified safety experts to develop more effective methods of prevention.
- People working in high-risk areas must carry “portable gas risk detectors”.
- Workers should know the evacuation process and general safety measures to follow at the time of real hazard.
All over the world Industries are just beginning to open up after relaxation from lockdown. The equipment, safety systems, and PPEs remain unattended for a long period. There might be possibilities for more accidents.
It is the duty and moral responsibility of companies to take review, hiring Safety Experts before opening the workplace.
The world has never before had faced situations like months-long lockdown. We have to discover/ invent additional safety measures for such unexpected issues.
This is the high time we should learn from Vizag Tragedy and focus on Industrial Safety.
It is our responsibility to create a safe, well-protected environment in the workplace.
For the top-level Industrial safety courses, more advice or any personalized information get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website www.keneducation.in or call us on +917569034271