Daily Hot Topic

Topic : Industrial Accidents in India

GS-3 Mains : Disaster

Revision Notes

Why in News?

  • A recent boiler blast at a chemical factory in Maharashtra highlights the recurring issue of industrial accidents in India.

Industrial Accidents in India

  • Frequent occurrences: Over 130 major chemical accidents in the last decade, resulting in hundreds of deaths and injuries (data by NDMA).
  • Examples:
    • Bhopal Gas Tragedy (1984) – Methyl Isocyanate leak causing widespread death and illness.
    • Visakhapatnam Gas Leak (2020) – Leak at LG Polymers plant leading to casualties.
    • Chennai Oil Spill (2017) – Ship collision causing massive oil spill and environmental damage.
    • Neyveli Boiler Blast (2020) – Explosion at NLC power plant resulting in worker deaths and injuries.

Factors Contributing to Accidents

  • Poor safety regulations and enforcement: Loopholes in regulations and lax monitoring by authorities.
  • Lack of training and awareness: Insufficient worker training on safety procedures and hazard identification.
  • Equipment failure: Inadequate maintenance, outdated machinery, or exceeding operational capacity.
  • Chemical and process safety: Negligence in handling/storing chemicals, improper ventilation, or poor emergency response plans.
  • Lack of emergency preparedness: Insufficient firefighting equipment, unclear evacuation procedures, and inadequate communication systems.
  • Informal workforce: Industries employing contractual or informal workers may compromise safety standards to reduce costs.

Government Initiatives

  • Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Code (2020): Consolidates and amends laws for occupational safety and health, aiming to improve worker safety and well-being.
  • National Policy on Safety, Health and Environment at Workplace (NPSHEW): Promotes preventive safety culture and integrates safety considerations into industrial decision-making.
  • Industrial Safety and Disaster Management Plans: Mandates industries to develop plans for mitigating accident risks.
  • National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA): Plays a crucial role in disaster preparedness, response, and mitigation for industrial accidents.
  • Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS): Develops and maintains safety standards for equipment, materials, and processes.
  • Labour Inspection and Enforcement: Regular inspections to assess compliance and identify potential risks.

The Way Forward

  • Bhopal Tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the need for prioritizing human life over profits.
  • Strengthening citizen rights:
    • Representation in disaster management bodies.
    • Broader compensation criteria for victims (medical, economic, social).
    • Resources for community rehabilitation.
  • Balancing economic growth with environmental and human safety is crucial for India’s future.

Source : https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/at-least-four-workers-injured-in-boiler-blast-in-maharashtras-dombivli-9347178/

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