Poor safety protocols and total breakdown of the emergency response of procedures were the root causes of the May 7 styrene vapour leak in the LG Polymers unit at Visakhapatnam, in which 12 people were killed and hundreds fell sick, the High Powered Committee constituted by the Andhra Pradesh government said here on Monday.
Citing multiple inadequacies on the part of LG, the HPC faulted the “slackness of management” for poor safety protocol, poor safety awareness and inadequate risk assessment response that aggravated the situation, a senior government official told PTI.
The HPC, headed by Environment and Forests Special Chief Secretary Neerabh Kumar Prasad, submitted a 4000-page report to Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy here on Monday.
“The accident occurred due to uncontrolled release of styrene vapour from the M6 tank at the LG plant, which qualifies as a major accident under the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989.
Poor design of the tank, inadequate refrigeration and faulty cooling system, absence of circulation and mixing system, poor process safety management system and total breakdown of the emergency response of the procedures were the root causes of the accident,” the HPC said in its report.
The HPC also observed that the factory has “absolutely no stocks of inhibitors and negligible stocks of terminators, which could have been used to minimise the impact of the accident, if not neutralise it.
“The temperature in the tank rose substantially. It was a tank with small vents.
The rise in temperature caused the styrene liquid to eventually vaporize and increase the pressure,” the HPC noted.
The committee also observed that the alarm system (at the plant) was not used despite there being a total of 36 activation points, including one at the factory gate.
Using the alarm could have alerted the people in the vicinity (from the impending danger), it added.
Director of the Indian Institute of Petroleum (Dehradun) Anjan Ray, Director General of DGFASLI R K Elangovan, Regional Director of Central Pollution Control Board (Pune) Bharat Kumar Sharma, AP Special Chief Secretary (Industries) Karikal Valaven, AP Pollution Control Board member-secretary Vivek Yadav and others were part of the HPC.
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