In the wake of Vizag gas tragedy at a polymer plant that has led to the death of 12 people, National Disaster Management Authority has issued guidelines for industries to restart operations after the lockdown. In spite of the country-wide lockdown, some economic activities have been allowed by the government in the green zones by lifting certain regulations. Fresh guidelines have been issued by NDMA on safeguarding of flammable and hazardous materials and guidelines also pertain to chemical disasters, management of chemical disasters, and strengthening of safety and security for transportation of Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants tankers.
While issuing guidelines, NDMA has advised to consider the first week as the trial run period while
restarting the machines and ensure the implementations of all security protocols. It has also advised industries not try to achieve higher production targets during the trial run period.
As per the guidelines, factories should maintain a strict sanitisation routine every two-three hours particularly in the common areas such as lunch rooms which will have to be sanitized after every use. Factories are also asked to prepare accommodation to isolate workers, if required.
“Due to several weeks of lockdown and the closure of industrial units during the lockdown period, it is possible that some of the operators might not have followed the established SOP (standard operating procedure). As a result, some of the manufacturing facilities, pipelines, valves, etc. may have residual chemicals, which may pose risk. The same is true for the storage facilities with hazardous chemicals and flammable materials,” said NDMA.
“When Lockout/Tagout procedures are not in place, many energy sources can prove to be hazardous to operators/supervisors who are servicing or maintaining electrical, mechanical or chemical equipment. When heavy machinery and equipment are not maintained periodically, they can become dangerous for the operators/engineers,” it added.
The authority has advised industries to take help from the local administration in case of any difficulty in managing crucial backward linkages that are crucial for their safe functioning. District magistrates have been asked to facilitate industries to run their day to day operations, in the overall interests of industrial security.