Managements of cold storage units in erstwhile Guntur district to receive training on safe usage of ammonia

The move comes a month after a fire accident at a cold storage unit, causing injuries to 12 persons and the gutting of the stored product

February 19, 2024 07:59 pm | Updated 10:26 pm IST - GUNTUR

A cold storage unit in Guntur City

A cold storage unit in Guntur City | Photo Credit: T. VIJAYA KUMAR

The Factories Department of Andhra Pradesh initiated a safety training programme on the usage of ammonia for the management of cold storage units at factories in Guntur, Bapatla and Palnadu districts, on February 20 (Tuesday) in Guntur. 

The move comes after the fire accident on January 19 in the cold storage unit, which led to the gutting of the product stored at Shubham Maheshwari Cold Storage Private Limited, Duggirala, in the Guntur district.  At least four staff members of the Fire Department, five factory workers, and three others were injured while fighting the fire. 

After the accident, district Collector M. Venugopal Reddy formed a Committee to inquire into the accident and as a preventive measure, the Factories Department initiated the safety training programme for all 148 cold storage units in the erstwhile Guntur district which primarily store chilli and turmeric. 

M.V. Sivakumar Reddy, Deputy Chief Inspector of Factories, Guntur, told The Hindu: “All cold storages have been using ammonia as a refrigerant agent, which is hazardous as it is a toxic gas even though it is useful in maintaining a cooling system. It has a potential risk and needs to be handled properly.”

Mr. Reddy said that earlier, the department insisted Coca-Cola, Perl Beverages and Sangam Dairy relocate the ammonia receivers to a safe place. In addition to that, the factory should also have an extra ammonia receiver as a standby for emergency usage, he said. He said all three companies had installed the standby receivers and shifted the ammonia receivers. 

This training will be organised in coordination with the Fire and Factories departments.

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