Workplace Safety Watch – March 2019

Construction

On 23 March, 19 workers died after an under- construction building collapsed in Dharwad, Karnataka. The police have arrested the owners; Ravi Basavaraj Sabarad, Basavaraj D Nigadi, Gangappa S Shintri, Mahabaleshwar Puradagudi and the architect Vivek Pawar under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life) of the IPC.

On 7 March 2 workers Ajay Kumar (25) and Aman (24) died in a landslide while working on the Rishikesh-Chamba-Gangotri national highway in Uttarakhand. The workers were manning an earthmover on the Char Dham all-weather road project when they got trapped in silt and boulders brought down by the landslide.

Manufacturing

On 26 March 7 workers Suresh, Babu, Singaravelu, Mohan, Arivu, Veerayyan and Sheik Abdulla died while on duty due to an explosion in a fire-cracker manufacturing unit in Mannargudi, Thiruvarur, Tamil Nadu.

On 16 March Mohan Lal (22) died and 2 other workers Deepak and M S Kherkar sustained grievous injuries following a major fire at the refinery of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) at Panipat, Haryana. The contract workers got trapped in the vacuum distillation unit when the fire broke out after a leakage in one of the units that was being tested.

On 14 March 2 workers; Sanjay Mahendra Singh (25) and Shahjad Alam Ansari (27) died and 4 others sustained serious burn injuries after massive fire broke out at Rig Akash 4 – an  oil well of ONGC at Nandej, Ahmedabad. The fire broke out due to gas leak while repair work was underway.

Sanitation

On 2 March a sanitation worker Manu V (25) asphyxiated to death while cleaning a sewage pit in Jai Hind International School in Begur, Bengaluru. The worker was forced to enter into a 2 feet wide and 5 feet deep manhole alone without any protective gear and with no one overseeing the work. Police has arrested the owner Raghavan, principal of the school Saroja and one coordinator Kishore Kumar under Section 304A (death due to negligence) of the IPC and under sections of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

On 23 March 2 workers Rakesh (45) and Ajay (19) choked to death while 2 others Pankaj(19) and Raju (33) were injured while cleaning a sewage treatment plant at the restaurant ‘Pirates of Grill’ in Rajouri Garden, New Delhi. The workers were employed in the housekeeping department and were not provided any safety gear for work. The police have arrested the area manager Pankaj Kumar and unit manager Aftab under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC and sections of the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

On 16 March sanitation worker Rakesh Nizab (45) died and 4 others Balasaheb (47), Umesh Pawar (42), Suresh Pawar (47) and Shantaram Bhakte (47) sustained serious injuries after inhaling poisonous gases inside a water pipeline chamber in Nana Chowk, Mumbai, Maharashtra. Workers from the water maintenance department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) entered the 12 foot deep manhole to repair a water leakage without any protective gears.

Others

On 3 March 4 mine workers Jiten Tanti (40), Krishna Gogoi (32), Tutu Deka (28) and Shushan Phukon (37) died following inhalation of toxic gases inside an abandoned mine in Yonglok village of Longleng district, Nagaland. The workers had returned to the abandoned mine to collect their belongings after a ban was imposed on illegal coal mine when they got trapped inside the mine due to mudslides.

Sanjay Ganeshkar (45) died after being stuck in a stone crusher at Gundale in Palghar, Maharashtra. The worker was cleaning the stone crusher, when the machine was switched on leading to the worker falling into the conveyor. The owner of the machine James Colaco has been booked by the police under IPC section 304 A (causing death by negligence).

B Rudra Dora (27) died after drowning in a water chamber while repairing a pipeline at VSS Nagar, Bhubaneswar, Odisha on 6 March. The Public Health division released water in the 5 feet high water chamber while maintenance work was still being carried out by the worker.

On 10 March a Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) worker M Ganapathi (56) died after falling from the roof of a bus in Ukkadam bus depot, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. The worker along with 2 other workers was loading tyres atop the bus, when rope snapped leading to the fall. Workers were not provided any safety gear.

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