Following the Vizag gas leak tragedy, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) early Sunday issued detailed guidelines for COVID-19 containment and safety at workplace for factories.
The government body came out with new guidelines to be observed while restarting manufacturing and chemical factories after the lockdown ends. NDMA issued instructions on Chemical Disasters, 2007, Management of Chemical (Terrorism) Disasters, 2009 and the Strengthening of Safety and Security for Transportation of POL Tankers, 2010.
The measures comprise 24-hour sanitisation of factory premises, providing face masks and PPEs (personal protective equipment) to all workers, temperature check of all employees twice daily, no sharing of tools, and ensuring physical distancing by raising barriers on work floors as well as dining facilities, among others.
Reiterating its guidelines, the government body said that because of several weeks of lockdown and the shutting down of factories and plants, it is possible that some of the operators might not have followed the established standard operating procedures (SOPs).
"As a result, some of the manufacturing facilities, pipelines, valves, etc. may have residual chemicals, which may pose risk. The same is true for storage facilities with hazardous chemicals and flammable materials," the NDMA release read.
"All precautions must be taken for the safety of industrial plants and workers when industries restart operations after lockdown," it further stated.
NDMA also said in the release, "While restarting the unit, consider the first week as the trial or test run period; ensure all safety protocols; and not try to achieve high production targets."
"To minimise the risk it is important 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 immediate maintenance or if required shutdown," it asserted.