MANGALORE: Apparent negligence triggered an explosion at the sulphur recovery unit II (SRU) of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL) in Bala near Surthkal, killing a contract labourer and leaving five others injured on Saturday.The deceased was identified as Nagesh (25), a resident of Kulai and an employee of Entech Consultants, under contract with MRPL. The other injured contract employees of Entech Consultants were identified as Basheer (24), Ashwith (23), Sirajuddin (23) and an employee of Sri Ganesh Constructions, Srinivas (33). An employee of MRPL, Mahesh Kumar (33) was also injured in the “fire-cum-blast” incident.
Experts investigating the incident suspect that the leakage of sulphur oil vapour at sulphur recovery unit II (SRU) oil water separator (OWS) could have triggered the blast in MRPL. Eyewitness told police that the victim and injured employees were engaged in welding and carrying out repair work in SRU II. “Sulphur is a flammable substance and its vapours and dust are explosive,” experts told Express. Sparks from the welding work triggered a fire-cum-blast at the plant, sources in Mangalore police commissionerate told Express. The injured persons with the help of two ambulances of MRPL and 108 Ambulance were first shifted to a hospital in MRPL premises and later to KMC Hospital in Ambedkar (Jyothi) Circle.
Police sources admitting that adequate precautions had not been taken, said the spot had not been verified by safety officials and the mandatory LEL (Lower Explosive Limit) underaken before welding work, also had not been done. While contract workers alleged that safety of contract employees had been ignored MRPL DGM informed that the incident, is being investigated.