All safety protocols should be followed and industries should not aim for high production targets as they restart operations when the nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus is lifted, the government said today, adding that the first week should be considered as “trial or test run”.
In its latest guidelines – issued three days after an overnight gas leak at a chemical plant in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam killed 11 people, affected at least 1,000 – the government has urged the industries to take precautions for the safety of their employees.
“Due to several weeks of lockdown and the closure of industrial units, it is possible that some of the operators might not have followed the established standard operating procedures. As a result, some of the manufacturing facilities, pipelines, valves may have residual chemicals, which may pose risk. The same is true for the storage facilities with hazardous chemicals and flammable materials,” read the guidelines issued by the National Disaster Management Authority or NDMA to all the states and union territories.
“While restarting the unit, consider the first week as the trial or test run period; ensure all safety protocols; and not try to achieve high production targets,” the statement further read.
There should be “24-hour sanitisation of the factory premises,” according to the guidelines that stress on maintaining a sanitisation routine “every two-three hours especially in the common areas that include lunch rooms and common tables which will have to be wiped clean with disinfectants after every single use”.
“To minimise the risk, it is important that employees who work on specific equipment are sensitised and made aware of the need to identify abnormalities like strange sounds or smell, exposed wires, vibrations, leaks, smoke, abnormal wobbling, irregular grinding or other potentially hazardous signs which indicate the need for immediate maintenance or if required shutdown, ” the statement underlined.
A countrywide shutdown to check the spread of coronavirus began on March 25; it was extended for a second time to May 17. The government has eased restrictions in some parts that are not affected by the pandemic.