Tragic Incident in Baloda Bazar, Chhattisgarh Puts Spotlight on the Need for Strengthened Industrial Safety Measures
RAIPUR (Chhattisgarh) India CSR: In a tragic accident that underscores the necessity of stringent safety protocols, three workers lost their lives at the UltraTech Cement Factory in Hirmi, Baloda Bazar, Chhattisgarh, on Tuesday, July 18th, 2023. The incident, resulting from a devastating explosion, further underscores the company’s urgent push towards a Zero Fatality Target in workplaces by 2024.
Details of the Incident and Further Investigation
The workers, a welder and two helpers, were hired by a private company for pipeline-related repair work at the factory. The explosion, caused by the oxygen cylinder they brought for the task, resulted in immediate fatalities and initiated an ongoing police investigation to determine the exact circumstances of the accident.
Implications for the Zero Fatality Target
This tragic event raises serious concerns over safety in industries, particularly as the company is pushing for a Zero Fatality Target in workplaces by 2024. The accident serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to enhance safety protocols and improve working conditions for those in potentially hazardous roles.
Details of the Incident
The accident occurred at around 3.10 pm at the UltraTech Cement factory in Hirmi village. According to a police official, “There was some pipeline-related repair work in the factory. A private company was hired to do the repair work. The three deceased were hired by this private company. The three men, a welder and two helpers, had gone there with the oxygen cylinder to do the work.”
However, an unforeseen explosion of the oxygen cylinder they brought resulted in the fatal incident. The blast’s force was so immense that one of the workers was thrown 20 feet from the location. The deceased have been identified as Lakesh Kumar Gayakwad (21), Shatruhan Lal Verma (27), and Umesh Kumar Verma (26).
The authorities have initiated an investigation into the circumstances leading up to the blast. The focus is currently on whether negligence was a contributing factor. “Some time after they reached the factory, the cylinder exploded leading to their deaths. We are investigating what led to the blast,” the police official added.
Safety at UltraTech Cement Limited
Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR): This is a standard measure for workplace safety. It represents the number of lost time injuries that occur per one million person-hours worked. The LTIFR for employees increased drastically from 0.03 in FY 2020-2021 to 0.30 in FY 2021-2022, indicating a significant increase in workplace incidents leading to loss of work time. The LTIFR for workers also decreased slightly from 0.18 to 0.16, which is a positive development but still shows a concerning level of workplace injuries.
Total Recordable Work-Related Injuries: The total number of work-related injuries for employees more than doubled from 9 in FY 2020-2021 to 24 in FY 2021-2022, showing a considerable increase. For workers, the number remained constant at 59, which is high and shows no signs of improvement.
No. of Fatalities: The number of fatalities among employees doubled from 1 in FY 2020-2021 to 2 in FY 2021-2022. There was a five-fold increase in fatalities among workers, from 1 in FY 2020-2021 to 5 in FY 2021-2022. This is particularly alarming as it shows a steep increase in the most severe category of workplace incidents.
High Consequence Work-Related Injury or Ill-Health (excluding fatalities): The number of high-consequence injuries or ill-health incidents also saw a substantial rise from FY 2020-2021 to FY 2021-2022. For employees, the number rose from 1 to 11, and for workers, it increased from 19 to 25.
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