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Process safety incidents continue as India ramps up post-pandemic economy

12 June 2020

Since the Indian government announced a phased end to lockdown restrictions at the start of June, the country has experienced a spate of process safety incidents across the country. The week beginning June 8 saw several more incidents, raising concerns that India is putting the economy ahead of safety.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

On June 11, an explosion at an agricultural chemical factory in the state of Gujarat, western India killed one person and injured five. The blast happened at a factory in Ankleshwar belonging to Hemani Industries Ltd, just 8 days after another chemical plant explosion in Gujarat killed eight and injured 50. 
The June 11 explosion happened in the early hours of the morning. Three of the injured workers are in a critical condition and the death toll is expected to rise. Fire officials have said the explosion occurred in a reaction vessel. Six workers suffered severe burns. An inquiry into the incident has been opened. 
Elsewhere on June 11, two workers died in hospital after suffering 90% burns to their bodies when a fuel tank exploded at a steel plant on June 10 in the state of Chhattisgarh. Two other workers were also injured in the blast at a factory belonging to Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) in the village of Patralapli.
The four workers were cutting up an old diesel tank with cutting equipment. The two injured workers are expected to recover from their injuries following treatment. An investigation into the incident is underway. 
The incidents on June 10 and 11 followed a chlorine cylinder explosion in the state of Punjab on June 7 which saw 20 people fall unconscious and rushed to hospital. The incident happened in a residential area and was similar to the LG Polymers gas leak on May 7 which killed 12 people.
The gas leak on May 7 saw hundreds of people fall ill with burning eyes and breathing difficulties. Hundreds more people were also evacuated after the leak at the LG Polymers plant in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh state. The incident came a day after the first phase of lifting lockdown restrictions began in India.

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