Barely three days after a cracker unit explosion in Virudhunagar district, another blast occurred near Sivakasi on Sunday, this time in a factory owned by S S Vijayakumar, president of the Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association.
That the incident occurred in his unit, killing at least five workers and injuring seven others, indicates that there were no internal safety mechanisms in place within the industry.
The blast occurred while 12 contract workers were mixing hazardous chemicals under a tree within the factory premises. They were working under the tree as all rooms in the factory were shut since it was Sunday. Apparent friction during handling of chemicals triggered a fire, which quickly spread causing the blast. At least two norms were flouted: one on working on a holiday; and another on mixing chemicals under a tree, instead of a room, which the rulebook prescribes.