Workplace Safety Watch – November 2020

2 November: Eight workers died – M Veluthayee (45), P Lakshmi (40), P Suruliammal, K Ayyamal (65), S Kaleshwari (45), P Lakshmi (45), M Mahalakshmi (45) and R Sundaramoorthy (39) – because of a fire accident (on Oct. 23) at Rajalakshmi Fireworks unit in Madurai. The CM of Tamil Nadu announced Rs. 2 lakh compensation to each of the bereaved families. The District Fire Officer’s report states that the unit was illegally manufacturing fancy crackers while also violating various norms but the exact cause of the accident is not yet known. The unit was owned by A Shanmugam and leased by P Vairamuthu however no FIR has been filed and no arrests have been made till now.

3 November: Muniraj (28) died when a granite slab fell on him at Pacific Granites India Pvt ltd in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu. His family members staged a protest outside the unit demanding compensation, although there are no reports of whether they received it or not. The Shoolagiri police registered a case and further inquiry is on, however, there are no reports of any arrests having been made till now.

3 November: Amit Kumar (20) was crushed to death when a pillar of the water treatment plant fell on him. The incident happened on the premises of the Ashwani Knitwear factory in Rayiyan village, Ludhiana. The owner, Ashwani Gupta, has been booked under section 304-A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC.

4 November: Thirteen workers died – Yunus Malek (52), Kaluva Bundu (41), Mustufa Saiyed (51), Jacquelin Christian (17), Nazmunnisa Shaikh (40), Ragini Christian (50), Ramarav Devashi (26), Mathur Chavda (50), Nitin Parmar (24), Hitesh Parmar (14), Angelina Chavda (44), Ranjan Godia (19) and Naresh Solanki (19) – and nine were severely injured due to multiple explosions in chemical processing unit, Sahil Enterprises, which led to the collapse of a textile godown, Kanika Texo Fab, in Ganeshnagar near Ahmedabad. Gujarat CM announced a compensation of Rs. 4 lakh to the family of each victim and constituted an inquiry committee which found that both the units were violating several labour laws, including the law to prohibit child labour. The cause seems to be the improper and illegal storage of inflammable and explosive chemicals which exploded either due to high pressure or heated conditions in the unit. Ahmedabad Police launched an FIR against Hetal Sutaria, owner of Sahil Enterprises, and Nanubhai Bharwad and Pradipbhai Bharwad, owners of the estate where the accident took place. All three were booked under sections 304, 308, 284, 285, 286, 436, 427, 337, 338 and 114 of the IPC, however, section 302 (murder) was not included.

14 November: Epuri Prem Kumar (26) fainted and died while working the night shift at Ra Chem Pharma Ltd. in Vijayawada. There are doubts that he died of asphyxiation after being exposed to harmful chemicals. The police have booked a case under section 174 of CrPC but say that the cause of death is yet to be ascertained.

15 November: Bijay Singh (30) succumbed to severe burn injuries that he sustained in the massive fire at Renuka Chemical Godown (Nov 10) in Guddadahalli near Bengaluru. No compensation has been announced for the family of the victim as of now. Three other workers were injured and are undergoing treatment. The unlicensed chemical factory-cum-godown had been operating in the residential area since 1992. Bengaluru police arrested the three owners of the chemical unit Sajjan Raj (66), Kamala (60) and Anil Kumar (30) under section 304-A (causing death due to negligence) of the IPC.

15 November: Ulearavu Vijay (18) was electrocuted to death due to a short-circuit while working at the ‘Rythu Vedika’ construction site in Bhupalpally, Telangana.

16 November: Sunil Kumar (28) died of burn injuries while Ajay (20) had to be hospitalised after a leak in a cooking gas cylinder led to an explosion in an air cooler factory in outer Delhi’s Mundka where they were employed. The police have registered a case under section 304-A (causing death due to negligence) of the IPC.

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