THE MOHALI administration seems little concerned about the safety of sanitation and electricity department workers. Last month an electricity department employee was killed while repairing an electricity pole at Phase 5 market. Even after such an incident, the administration failed to keep a check whether these workers are being provided safety kits by their employers or not.
The debate on the safety of sanitation workers who have to go deep into the sewers grew louder after the death of a sanitation worker in Chandigarh last month.
After the incident in Chandigarh, the local administration also issued written orders to the contractors to provide the safety equipment but after that, everybody forgot to check whether these pieces of safety equipment are really given to the workers.
Sajjan Singh, president of Sanitation Workers’ Union, points out that the sanitation workers are always at risk of inhaling dangerous gases whenever they enter the sewers. But the contractors do not provide the safety kits to them. “We can request the authorities to ensure our safety. But how many contractors have been punished for not providing safety kits?’’ asked Sajjan Singh.
Municipal Commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta, however, said that they had already issued instructions to all the sanitation contractors to give safety kits, including gloves, oxygen cylinders and helmets, to their workers.
In the past several incidents have happened when the sanitation workers were injured or inhaled poisonous gas while cleaning the manholes. Although no death was reported in the last two years, the contractors did not provide the safety kits.