Death by fireworks

  • IASbaba
  • March 25, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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Topic: General Studies 3:

  • Disaster Management
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Death by fireworks

Context: Frequent accidents in fireworks units in Sivakasi, Tamilnadu

In news:

  • In the past decade 239 people have been killed and over 265 injured in 142 accidents in fireworks units.
  • The fireworks sector has currently grown to 1,070 licensed units employing an estimated 10 lakh workers.

Some of the major causes of accidents are:

  • Illegal Functioning: Unlicensed units manufacturing firecrackers have increased, which don’t adhere to the safety guidelines provided by State authorities.
  • Sub-leasing of works who often neglect safety measures so as to maximise their profit. 
  • Mishandling of Chemicals: Rough handling of chemicals by untrained and unskilled workers often leads to fire mishaps
  • Spillage or overloading of chemicals during the filling process 
  • Working outside permitted areas which puts the safety of the neighbourhood in danger.
  • Lack of adequate monitoring by the state authorities

The Chaitanya Prasad Committee

It examined, among other things, statutory and administrative shortcomings that led to the death of 40 workers at Om Shakti Fireworks Industries in 2012.

Some of the committee’s key findings are:

  • Conspicuous absence of proper inspection mechanisms at various government departments. 
  • Lack of coordination between Central and State authorities dealing with the regulation of fireworks industries.
  • It recommended making sub-leasing of works by licensed units a cognisable penal offence
  • As part of industrial safety measures, it mandated inter-safety distances between sheds to be covered with earthen mounds.

Way Ahead

  • Adopting safe work practices
  • Comprehensive monitoring by Central and State licensing 
  • Strict enforcement of the safety guidelines by authorities.
  • Increased manpower in such enforcement & regulatory authorities
  • Implementing the recommendation of Chaitanya Prasad Committee
  • Awareness among stakeholders involved in the sector about the significance of safety in manufacturing process.

Connecting the dots:

  • Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO)
  • Green Crackers

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