Factory rejects workers’ allegation of unsafe conditions

Two persons died on the spot while four others were critically injured when a furnace with molten iron burst in an industrial unit on Friday morning at Kandampalayam near Nallur in Paramathi-Velur Taluk.

The deceased were identified as Bharath Chand Sahu (45) of Odisha and Vinod Roy (47) of Bihar. Factory sources suspected that some inflammable material that was accidentally put inside the furnace for melting could have caused the explosion. “We check the scrap and segregate if before crushing and taking it to the furnace for melting and Friday’s incident was an accident”, they said.

However, labourers claimed that the explosion was due to some compression that got released from the furnace. Molten iron was thrown up to 50 metres away from the furnace. The 10-year-old factory employs about 400 labourers, including nearly 300 from Odisha and Bihar.

Work conditions

A worker from Odisha complained of unsafe working conditions, especially near the furnace that gets heated up to 1750 degree Celsius. The injury would not have been so serious if gloves, helmets, heat-resistant coats and boots had been provided, he said. Rejecting charges of lack of safety, the factory authorities contended that even the safety materials could not have protected the victims as molten metal fell on them.

Of the injured workers crane operator Niranjan Dhal (28) and helper Janam Singh (35) of Kendujhar in Odisha suffered 90 per cent burns. Amar Jana (28) and Uma Mallik (25) of Bhadrak in Odisha suffered 70 and 50 per cent burns respectively. They were rushed to a private hospital in Erode. They were then taken to a private hospital in Coimbatore.

Paramathi-Velur DSP B. Uthayakumar said that a case was registered under sections 304 (i) (Culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 285 (Negligent conduct with respect to fire or other combustible matter) and 338 (Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code.

“There are different versions for the blast and the reason is being investigated”, he added.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National