The leakage of benzimidazole vapours at the Sainor Life Sciences pharma company at Jawaharlal Nehru Pharma City in Vizag, on 29 June 2020, had caused fatal consequences. While two of the employees lost their lives, four individuals fell sick after inhaling the gas and were rushed to a hospital for treatment. In wake of the Sainor gas leak incident, a committee was constituted to probe the cause behind the disaster. On Monday, the committee submitted its report on the gas leak to Vizag District Collector, V Vinay Chand.
The report stated that in the third stage benzimidazole mother liquor was shifted to the SSR-107 reactor, without completely removing the first stage mother liquor. The committee found that when the third stage mother liquor was being transferred to the AOD pump, the hose pipe was inserted into the reactor without the proper nipple arrangement. As a result, the gas had escaped through the gap.
Elaborating on the company’s failure during the rescue operation, the report pointed out that the management had not adhered to the safety protocol and did not provide the required number of breathing masks (safety gear) to the team that had carried out the task. The report also mentioned that the pharma company in Vizag failed to meet the standard recommendations in regards to storing and transferring of mother liquor.
The committee claimed that the Sainor Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd., manufacturing benzimidazole, Omeprazole Sulphide, and other such chemicals, had not submitted Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment (HARA) and Hazard and Operational Study (HAZOP) reports to the concerned departments. The company had not sensitised its employees regarding the risks involved while dealing with these chemical compounds, the report added.
Earlier on Monday afternoon, the High Power Committee (HPC) which was probing into the disastrous gas leak of LG Polymers Private Limited in Vizag, too handed over its report. In its 4,000 page report submitted to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, the committee stated that the lack of timely emergency response measures and negligence were found on behalf of the South Korean company, which resulted in the incident.
The HPC claimed that it has mentioned at 36 places about how the alarm system did not function and the siren did not go off, stressing on the lapse of preventive mechanism. It said that the incident which took 12 lives and affected hundreds, qualifies to be a major accident under the definition of Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules (MSIHC), 1989 Act.
In wake of the gas leak incident at LG Polymers Plant, AP Chief Minister, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said that this report will serve as guidelines on how to avert such mishaps. He further added that if necessary, the State Government will make necessary amendments to the existing laws.