New Delhi, May 10 (IANS) Taking lessons from Vizag Polymers’ plant gas leak that claimed 12 lives, the Centre has issued fresh “guidelines for restarting manufacturing industries after lockdown”, advising them not to try to achieve high production targets in the beginning and consider the first week as the trial or test run period to minimise the risk.
As the restrictions are being gradually eased in some zones to bring the economy back on track, the Ministry issued the guidelines on Saturday in order to minimise the risk as well as to encourage a successful restart of the industrial units.
The guidelines advised the industries to consider the first week as the trial or test run period while starting the units and ensure all safety protocols.
The guidelines were issued on Saturday to all Chief Secretaries and administrators of Union Territories (UTs) as the 14-day lockdown 3.0 is on and will end on May 17.
This comes days after 12 people died due to a gas leak at LG Polymers’ plant near Vizag, Andhra Pradesh and affected hundreds.
To minimise the risk, the Ministry has advised that employees who work on specific equipment are sensitised and made aware of the need to identify abnormalities like strange sounds or smell, exposed wires, vibrations, leaks, smoke, abnormal wobbling, irregular grinding, or other potentially hazardous signs which indicate the need for an immediate maintenance or if required shutdown.
“Especially during the COVID-19 times, ensure all lockout and tagout procedures are in place on a daily basis (not applicable for units running 24 hours),” the generic guidelines mentioned.
The guidelines suggest inspection of all equipment as per the safety protocols during the restart phase. In case the industry has any difficulty in managing crucial backward linkages that may be critical for their safe functioning, they should approach the local district administration for specific assistance, the guidelines suggest.
District Magistrate, as per the guideline, may be instructed to ensure that in such instances, the industry units may be facilitated to run their end to end operations, in the overall interests of all industrial security, it said.
The guidelines were issued considering that some of the operators might not have followed the established Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) due to the closure of industrial units during several weeks of lockdown and it may result in some of the manufacturing units, pipelines, valves to have residual chemicals, which may pose risk.
The same is true for the storage facilities with hazardous chemicals and flammable materials, the guidelines mention. Combustible liquids, containing gaseous substances, open wires, conveyor belts and automated vehicles make manufacturing facilities a high-risk environment. “Improper enforcement of safety codes and improperly labelled chemicals can further pose serious health hazards,” it said.
The Ministry and the NDMA on May 10 issued fresh guidelines on restarting manufacturing industries after the lockdown period.
While the third phase of the nationwide lockdown will be in place till May 17, the reopening of industries has been allowed in non-hotspot areas.
While issuing the Saturday guidelines, the Ministry said, “All the responsible officers of the district shall ensure the Industrial on-site Disaster Management Plans are also in place and cover Standard Operating Procedures for safe restarting of the industries during and after COVID-19 lockdown.”
In an early response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Centre imposed nationwide lockdown with effect from March 25. The lockdown is being gradually released in some zones and certain economic activities are being permitted as per National Disaster Management order.
The Home Ministry also issued guidelines for specific industrial procedures such as storage of raw material, manufacturing process, storage products and guidelines for the workers.
The factories have been directed to ensure round-the-clock sanitisation of their premises, entrance health checks, quarantine measures for supply and storage of goods, physical distancing measures, working in shifts, presence of skilled workers among other instructions.