After Vizag gas leak, government issues guidelines for restarting industries
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Saturday issued guidelines for the reopening of industries after the nationwide coronavirus lockdown. The guidelines were issued considering how energy sources or residual chemicals in certain factories/storage facilities may prove to be hazardous once work resumes after the lockdown. Just this Thursday, a tragic accident at a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam left 11 dead.
Establishments must consider their first week as a "test turn" and "not try to achieve high production targets" while ensuring all safety protocols. Employees working on specific equipment must be sensitized and made aware of any abnormalities (strange sounds, smells, etc.). Establishments must ensure that all lockout and tag-out procedures are in place daily. All equipment should be inspected while resuming work.
The guidelines further state, "In case the industry has any difficulty in managing crucial backward linkages that may be critical for their safe functioning, they should approach the local district administration for specific assistance."
Storage facilities must be checked for signs spills, wear and tear. Already opened storage vessels/containers/bags/silos must be checked for possible oxidation/rusting/rotting/chemical reaction. HAZMAT chemicals must be checked for chemical stability before use. Proper ventilation/lighting must be ensured before entering storage areas. Any possible signs of abnormalities must be checked. The storage building along with supply pipelines, valves, conveyor belts must be checked for damage.
A safety audit must be conducted before starting any activities and all pipelines, equipment, and discharge lines should be cleaned. Boilers, furnaces, heat exchangers, supply pipelines, valves, conveyor belts, etc., should be checked for lining and signs of wear and tear. Arrangement for round-the-clock emergency crews and professional technical teams must be ensured. A full list of guidelines is available on the NDMA website.
All workers must be provided with hand sanitizers, gloves, and masks. They must be temperature screened twice a day. The staff must be informed about safety steps to take from entry/exit along with personal precautions. Workers showing symptoms should not report to work. The factory premises must be sanitized regularly. To read the complete guidelines, visit the NDMA website.
On Thursday, a styrene gas leaked at the LG Polymers plant in Visakhapatnam as workers tried to restart the plant. The incident killed 11 people and hundreds of others were hospitalized. On Sunday morning, a fire broke out at a cardboard factory in Delhi's Bawana region. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. No injuries have been reported thus far.