Vizag mishap: NDMA prescribes one week trial-run for all industries

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on May 10, 2020 Published on May 10, 2020

Regional public health laboratory staff collecting water samples from the Meghadrigedda Reservoir on Sunday in Visakhapatnam, near the LG Polymers plant, where the gas leak took place   -  KR DEEPAK

Expert committee evaluating safety of deserted villages

All industries restarting operations after the lockdown should go through a week-long trial run with low production targets, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

In the wake of the styrene gas leak in the LG Polymers plant in Visakhapatnam on Thursday, which claimed 11 lives and hospitalised over 1,000, the NDMA issued guidelines to industries that have been shut for nearly 45 days, to resume operations.

A 24-hour sanitisation of the factory should precede trial run for a week after adhering to all safety protocols. While observing that some of the operators might not have adhered to the standard operating procedures due to weeks of lockdown, the authority cautioned that manufacturing facilities, pipelines, valves with residual chemicals etc, may pose risks.

“The same is true for the storage facilities with hazardous chemicals and flammable materials,’’ it added.

To minimise the risk, employees who work on specific equipment should be sensitised and made aware of the need to identify strange sounds or smell, exposed wires, vibrations, leaks, smoke, abnormal wobbling, irregular grinding or other potentially hazardous signs that indicate the need for immediate maintenance or, if required, shutdown, the guidelines said.


Sanitisation procedure

Not just operational hazards, the Covid-19 threat should also be borne in mind. The factories need to follow a sanitisation procedure every two to three hours, especially in common areas such as lunch rooms and common tables. They have to be wiped clean with disinfectants after every single use, as per the the guidelines.

“The filed functionaries may be advised to ensure strict compliance with the guidelines,’’ GVV Sharma, Member-Secretary, NDMA, said in a communication to all chief secretaries of States and administrators of the Union Territories.

Vizag situation

Meanwhile, the residents of five villages who have been evacuated for safety after the vapour leak, have not returned to the villages yet.

An expert committee is studying the air quality, temperature and other aspects in the villages. The State government has advised the villagers not to return to their homes till they get the clearance from the panel.

“Out of 4,11 people who received treatment in King George Hospital, about 250 are still undergoing treatment,’’ S Tirupathi Rao, District Medical & Health Officer, Visakhapatnam told Business Line.

“We are providing all facilities to patients in KGH and they will be sent back to their homes after we get clearance from the government. The safety aspects in the villages around the plant are being evaluated,’’ he said.

In a statement, LG Polymers said the situation in the plant where the mishap occured ‘has been brought under control’ and it is working closely with the government in the probe

Published on May 10, 2020

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