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KSEB to enforce safety norms for contract workers

Meet at Ernakulam circle office today to formulate guidelines

August 02, 2017 08:05 am | Updated 08:07 am IST - KOCHI

Kozhikode, Kerala, 21/05/2017: For briefly  ( to go with mithosh story).

Kozhikode, Kerala, 21/05/2017: For briefly ( to go with mithosh story).

Taking a serious note of the electrocution of Sameedur Rehman, a 19-year-old native of West Bengal, while working on an electric pole near Panangad, the Kerala State Electricity Board Limited will strictly enforce the safety norms for those working on overhead power lines on a contract basis too.

A preliminary investigation by the KSEB has found that the contractors are deploying labourers who are not even aware of the risks involved while working on power lines.

The Deputy Chief Engineer, central region, has convened a safety meeting at the Ernakulam circle office on Wednesday to formulate a set of safety guidelines for the contract employees.

“Working in close proximity to electric power lines requires some basic technical expertise. The ground reality, however, appears to be much different where the contractors are employing grossly under-trained migrant labourers on daily wages, who even lack the basic communication skills,” pointed out Mary Felcita, Deputy Chief Engineer, KSEB central region.

Most of them are working without adequate safety gears. “It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe working environment that is aligned with the existing safety standards,” the official noted.

531 fatalities

Records with the KSEB showed that the State witnessed about 1,058 electrical accidents in 2015 and 2016 together, out of which about 531 were fatal. Of these, 2015 accounted for 589 cases, which then dropped to 468 the next year.

Of the total accidents in 2015, at least 72 victims were the contract workers while about 122 were KSEB employees.

The number of contract workers involved in electric accidents the next year stood at 51 while that of the KSEB workers was 118.

Officials attribute the accidents primarily to disregard for safety rules, insufficient training and practice, improper earthing, inadequate supervision, faulty protective equipment and poor maintenance, among others.

A preliminary investigation by the KSEB officials attributed the electrocution of Rehman to a glitch in the changeover switch of a resort nearby.

“The resort was found using a 62.5 KV generator, which back-fed the already de-energized line. To bring clarity on this, we will have to verify the meter reading,’’ the officials said.

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