VISAKHAPATNAM: In yet another industrial accident that has laid bare the laxity of the management in compliance with the safety norms, two workers died and three more sustained grievous burns in a fire at the Azico Biophore India Private Limited in the Jawaharlal Nehru Pharma City at Parwada on the outskirts of Vizag on Tuesday.
The mishap occurred on the second floor of the unit at around 7.45 am when the workers were cleaning a new reactor with a highly inflammable, flash point electrostatic cleaning solvent-1-4-diaxine.
Preliminary investigation said that the inflammable substance caught fire after being exposed to the room temperature. Sparks fell into the sodium tank nearby that resulted in a blast.
Chemist Siva Kumar (24) from Gopalapatnam and helper Nageswar Rao (30) from Anakapalle, M Appala Naidu (31), a company executive from Pakki in Vizianagaram district, G Srinivasa Rao (40) from Kasimkota and J Manikanta (22) fromVizianagaram who were at work sustained grievous burns.
Siva Kumar and Nageswar Rao were rushed to the King George Hospital (KGH) where they died undergoing treatment. The rest were admitted to Care Hospital.
The condition of Appala Naidu and Srinivas Rao, who received 75 to 80 per cent burns, is critical, while Manikantha is stable. The fire brigade unit of the Pharma City rushed to the spot and brought the flames under control. “The fire was put out immediately, preventing its spread to the raw material store and other key places of the unit,” Pharma City CEO Lal Krishna said.
The Azico Biophore Limited is an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing unit which produces intermediate pharma molecules.
Upon information South Sub-zone ACP J Ramamohan Rao, a team of factories inspection department officials and Parawada MRO reached inspected the scene of the accident. They found fault with the management for not following the safety norms.
“The workers are cleaning the reactor with 1-4-diaxine, a hyperactive solvent, which evaporates at 12 degrees Celsius. Being summer, the room temperatures are reaching 30 to 35 degrees Celsius.
Lack of proper safety measurements led to the chemical coming in contact of air which resulted in the fire,” deputy chief inspector of factories KBS Prasad and his team told Express.
Licence suspended last year
During the industry safety audit undertaken in October last year by the government, the AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB) had suspended the licence of the Azico company for not adhering to the safety norms. The probe team observed that the fire fighting systems in the factory were not in proportion to the fire load potential.