Toxic gas leak at steel plant kills four workers: Odisha

Two DGMs suspended for neglect, RSP CEO expresses deep anguish and promises to offer help to victims’ families

Toxic gas leak at steel plant

Four contract workers died due to exposure to toxic gas at the Coal Chemicals Department of the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) in Odisha on January 6, 2021 morning, reported the Indian Express.

RSP CEO Dipak Chattaraj expressed deep anguish over the deaths while the company, in its statement, promised employment to one member each of the families of the deceased. Meanwhile, two RSP Deputy General Managers of the Coal Chemicals department and Energy Management department were suspended for dereliction in duty.

According to police, the workers of maintenance contractor firm Star Constructions were engaged in maintenance work at the coal chemicals unit when the incident took place.

They were rushed to plant hospital and then to Ispat General hospital after they felt unwell around 9 AM. Reports said this happened after the leak began at the state-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) plant.

The deceased, Ganesh Chandra Paila (59), Rabindra Sahu (59), Brahmananda Panda (51), and Abhimanyu Sahu (33) died while undergoing treatment.

Company officials have activated all emergency protocols in the plant and ordered a high-level probe by a committee of three Chief General Managers.

A worker union leader told The Hindu that accidents also occurred in the past due to lapses in safety measures. He claimed that fire service and ambulance vehicles would have to be mandatorily stationed prior to repair work. However, these vehicles were rushed to the spot after the accident.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said they were deeply saddened by loss of lives in the RSP accident. The company was India’s first integrated steel plant in the public sector, and currently produces 4.5 MTPA (million tonnes per annum) of hot metal.


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