The four lives were lost at a unit making ‘block boards’, situated at Kandanthara.

Lack of safety measures at plywood manufacturing units in Perumbavoor, many of which are functioning without obtaining necessary permits, has come into focus after the death of four workers in a unit there came to light. The accident happened a fortnight ago.

The four lives were lost at a unit making ‘block boards’, situated at Kandanthara.

The deaths happened on different days after the incident, with the fourth person dying on May 1.

The accident occurred at a processing section where chips of wood were mixed with adhesives and processed at high temperatures. The processing machines reportedly spewed fireballs, causing severe burns to four workers.

Plywood, veneer and block boards are among products manufactured at wood-based units clustered in and around Perumbavoor, a location known for abundant availability of timber.

Thousands of migrant workers belonging to Odisha, West Bengal, Assam and other northeastern States are employed there.

The plywood manufacturing industry has been in focus after people started objecting to the setting up of factories in residential areas as the units polluted water and air.

Agitations demanding shifting of the units from residential areas have been going on for quite some time at various locations.

A case filed against the units in Vengola panchayat had gone to the Supreme Court which appointed a Central Empowered Committee to study the issue. The committee had found a series of violations of norms by a majority of units in the panchayat.

The CEC found that of the 277 units operating in Vengola panchayat, 179 were functioning without valid consent from Kerala Pollution Control Board; 121 were not registered under The Indian Boilers Act, and under the Factories Act; 180 did not obtain permission from the Fire and Safety departments.

The Supreme Court has referred the case back to the High Court and the plea is expected to come up for hearing soon.

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