Says state-of-the-art facilities installed to fight fires and prevent accidents

HPCL Chairman and Managing Director S. Roy Choudhury on Monday said they could curtail the damage due to blast and fire leading to collapse of cooling tower at the Visakh Refinery by taking timely action.

Stating that they had installed world-class fire fighting equipment, he told reporters that they could prevent spread of fire to other sensitive units of the refinery due to immediate intervention.

Earlier, Rajya Sabha member T. Subbarami Reddy, Congress MLAs Malla Vijay Prasad and Ch. Venkataramaiah, CPI (M) State secretariat member Ch. Narsinga Rao and others interacted with Mr. Choudhury and other top officials of the HPCL and demanded enhanced compensation and permanent jobs to kin of contract workers killed in the blast. Mr. Choudhury said they had installed state-of-the-art facilities to fight fire and prevent accidents and had achieved compliance to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)-Process Safety Management (PSM) standards.

Terming the August 23 blast as most unfortunate, he said they would take action against officials if they were found guilty. Contractors if found responsible would be blacklisted, he stated. He said they would engage international experts and go for third-party check before commissioning any project and promised to conduct probe into the accident with transparency. Due to timely action, fire that gutted Crude Distillation Unit-3 on May 17 was doused without any casualty.

Air ambulance

He said all those injured were being extended best possible health care in super-speciality hospitals. Instead of one-seater, they were trying to engage a three-seater air ambulance to carry patients with less than 50 per cent burns to Mumbai for better care. HPCL doctors have been brought from Mumbai to provide expert guidance.

To a question, HPCL Executive Director V.V.R. Narasimham said they had off-site and on-site emergency response system in place and an arrangement for mutual assistance with neighbouring establishments like the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant and the Andhra Petrochemicals.

The Rajya Sabha MP thanked the HPCL management for agreeing to give compensation to the injured persons and consider jobs of permanent nature through workers’ societies to one member from the families of contract workers killed in the blast.