Upadhya says safety at MRPL will improve once the underground cavern is ready

With Karnataka having more than 1,000 factories classified as ‘hazardous’, industrial safety should be a priority to ensure that a tragedy like the Bhopal gas leak did not occur here, said B.N. Bache Gowda, Minister for Labour, in Mangalore on Tuesday.

Mr. Gowda inaugurating a two-day seminar on “New techniques and strategies in prevention of industrial disasters” held at Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited here.

Hazardous factories

The Minister said out of the total 1,024 ‘hazardous’ factories in the State, 74 were ‘major accident hazard’ factories spread across 16 districts. The holding of a seminar to bolster industrial safety at MRPL was significant as 68 of the 74 accident-prone industries dealt with petroleum handling or its products, said the Minister. The seminar focused on petroleum products, their processing, storage and handling, and was attended by more than 250 delegates.

The seminar was held to commemorate the Chemical Disaster Prevention Day, marking the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, which on December 3, 1984, became one of the worst recorded chemical disasters.

“As society has advanced, the potential of damage that can be done by man-made disasters has grown proportionally. Preventive measures are the need of the hour. There should be awareness about the handling and storing chemicals, the use of the right equipment, developing safety managements and preparing workers in dealing with emergencies,” he said.

Mr. Gowda urged the delegates to adapt techniques from the Japanese, who though afflicted by an infrastructure-crippling tsunami in 2011, were able to rebuild their economy in only a few months.

P.P. Upadhya, Managing Director of MRPL, who presided over the seminar, said the refinery, being one of the biggest in the State, was the most accident prone.

Apart from regular mock drills and safety review meetings, he said safety in MRPL would be augmented when the underground cavern system of storage of crude oil was completed next year. He added that MRPL would fully implement all the advance fire prevention steps recommended by the Centre.

The seminar features field experts of the petrochemical and petroleum industry and safety equipment manufacturers.

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