ROURKELA: A week after four workers died due to carbon monoxide (CO) exposure, the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) on Tuesday claimed there was no gas leakage and all safety measures were in place. An official statement by RSP claimed that prima facie, it appears that there might have been formation of a pocket of entrapped gas in sludge deposits.
Interestingly, it appeared to pass the responsibility on the employees. ‘The workers might have momentarily taken off their gas masks and got exposed to CO while removing the bolts of the flange joints. There was no leakage of gas,” the statement added.
Two days before the mishap, on January 4, the procedure-cum-safety protocol was duly approved for maintenance of 30 metre of coke oven gas pipeline at the coal chemical department (CCD). Before the maintenance job, the pipeline was water sealed and purged with nitrogen while both sides of the pipe portion were isolated with closing valves.
Besides, the contract workers were carrying gas masks, CO monitoring metre and other safety appliances. The workers were given advance training while CO gas concentration was found within the prescribed limit. Fire brigade personnel were also available at the site, the RSP stated.It further said soon after the mishap, gas content in the area was monitored and found to be normal. The contract of the maintenance firm Star Construction has been suspended pending enquiry.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, a meeting was organised at RSP to review safety measures for workers. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of RSP Dipak Chattraj laid thrust on bridging all gaps and adherence to technological discipline to achieve zero accident. He insisted on collective responsibility to introspect, review and focus on all aspects of safety to prevent accidents related to gas, fire, electrical, chemical and road.
Deputy Director of Factories and Boilers Bibhu Prasad emphasised on appropriate sensitisation of employees and contract labourers at work sites, improvement in housekeeping and extensive health checkup.Among others, three executive directors of RSP and assistant Director of Factories and Boilers MK Mishra attended the monthly safety meeting.