The gas leak at the Vizag chemical factory that killed eleven people and got hundreds hospitalised has led the government to think about the opening of these factories in order to avoid any further accidents.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) issued detailed guidelines on Saturday to all states and UTs on Sunday for restarting industries after the lockdown.
In order to minimize the risk and to encourage a successful restart of industrial units, the guidelines advised the industries to consider the first week as the trial or test run period while starting the units and ensure all safety protocols. .
To ensure this happens, the guidelines specified a complete safety audit should be carried out for the entire unit before taking up starting activities. Companies are also advised not to try achieving high production targets.
There should be 24-hour sanitisation of the factory premises, specifically a sanitisation routine every two-three hours in common areas. Factories should ensure there is no sharing of tools or workstations and keep a provision for additional sets of tools if needed.
To minimise risk, employees operating specific equipment need to be sensitised and made aware of the need to identify abnormalities like strange sounds or smell, exposed wires, vibrations, leaks, smoke, abnormal wobbling, irregular grinding or other potentially hazardous signs which indicate the need for an immediate maintenance or if required shutdown.
The guidelines suggest inspection of all equipment as per the safety protocols during the restart phase. In case the industry has any difficulty in managing crucial backward linkages that may be critical for their safe functioning, they should approach the local district administration for specific assistance, the guidelines suggest.
Health checks for employees to check the spread of coronavirus are also a part of the detailed statement that recommends temperature checks of all employees to be done twice a day. Workers showing symptoms should not report to work.
Factories that operate 24*7 at full production capacity should consider a one-hour gap between shifts, except the plants that require continuous operations, according to the government. Managerial and administrative staff should work one shift at 33 per cent capacity; the industrial units have to prepare accommodation to isolate workers, if needed.
While issuing the guidelines, the Ministry said, "All the responsible officers of the district shall ensure the Industrial on-site Disaster Management Plans are also in place and cover Standard Operating Procedures for safe re-starting of the industries during and after COVID-19 lockdown."