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Inquiry shows India chemical factory blast followed series of violations by operating company

14 March 2018

An inquiry by the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health (DISH) into the chemical factory blast in Tarapur’s Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) has pointed to a series of violations by Novaphene Specialties Pvt Ltd that led to an uncontrolled fire which killed four and injured 14 factory workers. 

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Stock image

The report, submitted on March 12 to local police and officials, claimed certain manufacturing processes had not been cleared with DISH and that labourers were not trained in handling hazardous chemical materials. Nor were there sufficient safeguards for the containment of chemical and reactive materials, the report said, and the supervisor was not a qualified chemical engineer.

The blast at the Novaphene factory on March 9 started a fire that gutted five other factories on the industrial estate, as well as shattering windows across the neighbourhood.

According to the Indian Express, the report suggests that the blast occurred in a factory reactor where distillation of methyl formate was under way.

PTI reported earlier that four Novaphene staff members had been arrested - its owner, the company manager, a chemist and a supervisor.

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