07/02/2020, 12.59
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Six die and 17 injured in another work-related accident in India

by Biju Veticad

A boiler exploded at a state-owned NLC India power plant. “Unfortunately, in our country, many companies underplay the importance of health and safety,” said a fire and safety trainee.

Neyveli (AsiaNews) – Workplace safety measures in India are proving to be a failure. Accidents in state-owned and private companies, particularly in power plants and chemical factories, have increased in the past two months.

Six people lost their lives yesterday and 17 more were injured when a boiler exploded at an NLC India Limited[*] power plant owned by the Indian government; 11 of the 17 are in critical conditions.

Yesterday’s accident occurred in Unit 5. Another boiler explosion occurred on 7 May 2020 in Unit 6, killing 5 people. That accident occurred when workers and technicians were trying to restart the plant after it had stopped the previous night.

“This is a great loss for families,” said Fr D Arokiadas, a priest in the Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cudallore. “The people who lost their lives were very young, between the ages of 25 and 42.”

“The diocese has a very old church in the city of Neyveli. but none of our parishioners are involved in the accident. However, those who lost their lives were contractual workers, which may not guarantee a full pension or other long-term benefits for their families.”

Meanwhile, a gas leak was reported in Visakhapatnam, killing two people at the Sainor Life Sciences plant. Four others were seriously injured with one struggling for his life.

On Monday, a hydrogen sulphide vapour leak was reported from a reactor in the pharmaceutical plant at Jawaharlal Nehru Pharma City in Parawada, about 40 km from Visakhapatnam.

On 6 May, 12 more people died in Visakhapatnam from a leakage of styrene gas at LG Polymers.

Shibin Babu, a fire and safety trainee in Visakhapatnam, told AsiaNews that guidelines and laws do exist to ensure workplace safety; “Unfortunately, in our country, many companies underplay the importance of health and safety,” he explained.

“Some 16 laws regulate working hours, conditions and employment,” he added. “The Factories Act and the Mines Act are the main laws on workers’ health and safety.”

For him, “neglecting safety measures should be severely punished and workers need to be trained to handle unexpected eventualities.”

[*] Formerly the Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited.

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