Thursday’s ghastly incident in a rubber factory at Gagan Pahad in Shamshabad has once again brought to the fore, the inadequacy of the fire safety systems in industrial estates in Hyderabad.
Despite being told to adhere to basic safety norms, most of the industrial units continue to ignore, thus endangering the lives of employees, fire safety officials charged.
In Thursday’s incident, the management did not adopt basic safety measures and this negligent attitude claimed lives of four employees, authorities felt.
The factory management provided restrooms for employees beneath the pipeline that supplies hot liquid chemical, which is produced after melting the rubber. When the pipeline exploded, the hot liquid fell on one of the rest rooms where the workers were sleeping. Four workers were burnt alive after the liquid fell on them. “How can the management construct a pipeline atop restrooms? It’s nothing but sheer negligence on its part,” says Regional Fire Officer, G.V. Narayana Rao.
The National Building Code (NBC) stipulates a minimum of 4.5 metres open space all around the premises for movement of fire tenders, underground water storage tanks and two escape routes for fire fighting in the event of an accident. Installation of fire hydrants, hose reel, fire extinguishers and storage of adequate quantity of foam are required for industries. But a majority of industries continued to flout the safety norms, authorities say.
In 2006, AP Fire and Emergency Services Department declared 1,330 industries and factories in industrial areas in Ranga Reddy district as potential fire-traps. Shockingly, 90 per cent of them were not equipped with mandatory fire-fighting systems. Till recently, the department has been focusing on the safety systems at multi-storeyed buildings.
“We will now focus on industries that are operating without any safety norms. Instructions have been issued to zonal officers to re-inspect industries for rectification of deficiencies. We will launch prosecution against the managements for ignoring safety measures,” Mr. Rao adds.