One of the seriously injured employees has been shifted to the critical care unit of the Tata Main Hospital, company sources say.

Eleven workers at Tata Steel’s plant at Jameshdpur, West Singhbhum, were injured when a gas-holding chamber exploded on Thursday evening. District officials said the chamber was 55 meters in diameter and 70 meters in height and splinters from its metal roof caused the injuries.

“The LD-2 chamber that had a mix of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen exploded and the loud sound caused a panic among workers. A fire broke out and was extinguished. Of 11 who were injured, 10 have splinter injuries and one worker may have inhaled the gases. I have ordered an inquiry,” said West Singhbhum District Collector Amitabh Kaushal, who visited those undergoing treatment at Tata Memorial Hospital.

The District Deputy Labour Commissioner and Deputy Chief Inspector of Factories visited the factory site.

“The explosion may have been caused by a short-circuit. We are still inquiring into the causes. There were no workers in the same area as the chamber but there were several working nearby,” said A.K. Mishra, Deputy Chief Inspector of Factories. According to Mr. Mishra, there had been no accidents at the plant in recent years.

“Everything is under control now and the area has been isolated. The plant is operational. Ten workers have minor injuries and one is critical and is under treatment,” said Prabhat Sharma, Tata Steel Head, Corporate Affairs.

Tata Steel’s 10-million-tonne plant at Jamshedpur is one of the largest in the country.

“Tata Steel has a better record at maintaining at its equipment and factories than most companies in the country. The company holds regular training sessions for its labourers as well. The holder caught fire and exploded. If this had been an instance of gas leak, this could have become a second gas tragedy like Bhopal. It needs to be looked into whether maintenance was as per requirements or not,” said Samit Carr, an activist with the Occupational Safety and Health Association of Jharkhand.