Safety at all costs: On implementation of safety protocols in fireworks industry

News: Four workers lost their lives in a blast at a fireworks unit in Tamil Nadu on the day of the new year. The accident happened due to mishandling of chemicals.  

What are the reasons behind the accident? 

Non enforcement of safety protocol.

Leasing out the industry unit to others and unauthorised manufacturing products. 

What can be done to prevent such incidents in future?  

Although the Firecracker Industry has seen some improvements like reduction in child labour, but adherence to safety protocols needs serious reforms. 

These incidents should not be termed as ‘accidents’. This absolves those who are responsible for the implementation and the enforcement of safety protocols from taking any responsibility for the incident. 

Govt should consider implementing some of the recommendations of the eight-member K. Kannan committee (former judge of Haryana, Punjab and Madras High Court) constituted by the National Green Tribunal after a blast in the district that killed over 20 people in February 2021.  

The panel had suggested that the Explosives Act be amended to make punishments more stringent than now. 

Only certified persons should be employed for operations including mixing, filling of chemicals and the making of colour pellets, and using drones for surveillance of various units 

Government should ensure that there is no compromise on the enforcement of the safety protocols. As it involves the question of precious lives and also their livelihood. 

What is the economic significance of Firecracker industry to Tamil Nadu?

The firecracker industry employs around eight lakh people, directly and indirectly, in a backward region of Tamil Nadu with no assured irrigation.

It also contributes to the economy of the state and thus of the Nation. 

Source: This post is based on the article “Safety at all costs” published in The Hindu on 4th Jan 2022. 

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