Explosion at Tata Steel plant injures 19 workers

  • Debashish Sarkar, Hindustan Times, Jamshedpur
  • Updated: Nov 17, 2015 14:29 IST
Entrance to the Tata Steel plant. (Arvind Sharma/HT photo)

Nineteen workers were injured, five seriously, in an explosion at the Tata Steel factory here on Monday, officials said.

Jharkhand chief factory inspector Arun Kumar Mishra told HT that they have formed a four-member committee to probe the explosion at an ammonia scrubber in the factory.

An ammonia scrubber cleans the coke oven gas containing carbon monoxide and other toxic gases for reuse.

“The explosion was so strong that the metallic roof with concrete covering of the dome-like scrubber was blown to pieces and the splinters hit the workers outside,” Mishra said.

“The probe team will investigate the cause of ignition -- whether by a shot circuit or nearby activities like welding. It will also probe if proper purging was done by the plant management before taking up maintenance work at the scrubber.”

The injured were rushed to Tata Main Hospital. Of the five seriously injured, three suffered fractures. Others were reported to be out of danger. Chief minister Raghubar Das visited the hospital in the evening to enquire about the condition of the injured.

This was the second major accident at the Tata Steel factory after an explosion in a gasholder on November 14, 2013 had left employee Bholanath Sikdar dead and 10 workers injured.

“It is still not clear if an explosive mixture of gases was formed inside the scrubber during shutdown,” said Mishra.

State labour minister Raj Paliwal called up Mishra to enquire about the mishap.

The probe team -- led by deputy chief factory inspector Ratan Khes and comprising senior factory inspector BA Kumar (Giridih), Bokaro factory inspector Vineet Kumar Singh and Jamshedpur factory inspector Dheerendra Singh Munda - has been asked to submit its report within a fortnight.

Tata Steel corporate communication officer Amaresh Sinha said 10 of the injured were contract workers.

“The company has ordered an internal enquiry. It is being probed how explosion occurred even though the plant was closed,” said Sinha.

Eleven injured workers have been identified so far as Shashi Kant Singh, Rajesh Kumar, Vikas Kumar, Sunil Prasad, Kaiser, Rajesh Das, Ranjit Mahato, Ghalib, Raza, Rashid Akhter and Ranjan Kumar.

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