We recently penned a blog about the raw deal that workers in high-risk cracker factories. An accident has claimed 4 lives in a cracker factory down south on Thursday, 24th February. The incident happened at Thuraiyur village near Kovilpatti and all the four were killed on the spot, they said. Police suspect the fire could have been caused due to friction from handling of raw materials but a probe is on. On 22nd February a blast at a fireworks factory in Himachal had killed seven people and left twelve people injured. The incident took place in the Tahliwal industrial area of Himachal Pradesh's Una. A similar tragedy cracker unit near Amathur in Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu left one dead and two injured in January.
Working for a living sitting on a gunpowder keg has its own problems but those are compounded when the basic necessary safeguards as mandated by law are not followed. The NBA has certain guidelines which make it mandatory for any enclosed space inhabited by people to install fire safety basics such as extinguishers, emergency lights, clear and easily readable ‘glow’ signs or photoluminscent signs, sprinklers etc. depending on the nature of the premises. But it has often been seen that major fire accidents that claimed lives and caused hurt to many were in premises which were in gross violations of all that. The government has tightened the screws on fire safety preventives due to public outcry and the ‘chalta hai’ approach towards fire safety has become a costlier affair in many senses now, for all concerned from architect, to developer, to occupant to owner.
Coming back to firecracker units, the safety aspect must include special equipment like flameproof emergency lights or signages that can withstand high temperatures and still lead people to safety quickly when a tragedy occurs. Disaster management teams and organizations are constantly emphasizing on these basics and its high time the lives of poor workers in such high places be protected and their lot made just a little easier.