Safety in chemical industry
Through safety in each field is of equal importance, safety in chemical industry needs more attention because of its specific nature. Chemical safety seems more complicated than civil, mechanical or electrical safety because each chemical has many properties, many process, many hazards and many controls. The state, pressure, temperature, process parameters etc, are also changeable. Many hazard data and complete reaction documents are still not available. Many hazard are known after the accident only as in case of Bhopal and so many incidents. Engineering controls may not be possible or available at many places. Control devices and personal protections are inadequate many times. Warning device may either not be available or not be functioning well. All these diversified working conditions and operational situations pose many dangers which need their proper knowledge and attention followed by proper safety measures and proper preventive as well as corrective maintenance.
One upon a time textile factories were dominating in our country but chemical factories small and big have been extensively increased. Process wise the highest numbers of factories in Gujarat are of chemical and chemical products. out of total 21220 i.e 2.36% chemical factories in state in 2001. Employment wise it employed 24803 workers out 0f total 907101 i.e 2.73% in the state. Table 5.21 states that accident wise also it is second (next to textile) contributing 1090 out of 12131 i.e 8.98% accidents The percentage of fatal accidents in chemical factories was 30.89% in 1997 in Gujarat.
Indian statistics of 1979 states that there were 9485 (Total of NIC Group No. 30 & 31) out 135173 i.e 7.01% chemical factories and 609000 out of 6797000 i.e 8.95% workers in these factories. As the latest all Indian statistics is not available, it is estimated that this percentage would have reached up to 10%. During 1992 there were 4141 out of 64631 i.e 6.40% accidents in chemical factories which can also be estimated to rise up to 8% during 6 years.
Thus it can be concluded that there are about 10% chemical factories in India employing 10% of total manpower and contributing @10% of total accidents.
In Gujarat considering subsequent growth of chemical factories, they are @21%, employing @21% of total manpower, contributing @9% of total accident and @31% of fatal accidents.
Bhopal accident is remarkable. It caused more than 3700 death, many more injuries and become world famous attracting every body’s attention toward chemical safety. It has opened the eyes and shaken the governments and all safety people to wake up. Many expert committees have been formed and safety reports are published. The Factories Act is rapidly amended to include many matters on chemical safety. Many seminars have been held and the chemical wave is still continued. This shows the significance of chemical safety.
Before understanding safety aspect of a chemical industry, it is utmost necessary to study or refresh basic concepts of chemistry and chemical technology. For this purpose please stay with this site, next article coming soon…