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Indian utility updates safety rules following fatal explosion

12 April 2018

On November 1, 2017, the explosion of a boiler and subsequent fire at the Unchahar power plant in Rae Bareli district of Uttar Pradesh killed 45 workers and injured many more. Following this incident, plant operator NTPC has introduced strict new regulations and training programmes to ensure a similar incident does not happen again.

Unchahar power plant - Image: NTPC
Unchahar power plant - Image: NTPC

According to the Indian Express, quoting an anonymous senior NTPC official, the incident led to NPTC reviewing the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and location-management instructions (LMIs) at its power plants. One result of this is that the utility’s executives have undertaken to ensure strict compliance with all procedures, instructions and regulations.

A particular area of focus was the introduction of a permit to work (PTW) system, under which checklists and formats must be closely followed for all maintenance jobs at NTPC power plants.

A total of 42 out of the 45 who died at the Unchahar plant were contract workers, with another 40 injured. Since the incident, NTPC has begun a programme to provide full occupational health and safety training to contract workers.

Of the contract workers, 32 were employed by Vijayawada-based Indwell Ltd, who were painting the boiler at the time of the incident, and two by Siemens Ltd.

Three of the dead were NTPC managers, and the rest were employed by construction, maintenance, lighting and electrical engineering companies present at the site on the day of the incident.

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