Rajahmundry: The East Godavari administration has come up with an initiative to step up industrial safety at 12 shrimp processing units by installing ammonia sensors and making the sensors, if already installed, fully functional to ensure safety of the workers in the unit and people living in the vicinity in the district. This is seen as a reaction to the death of five workers due to suspected exposure to ammonia at a shrimp processing unit near Mogaltur in West Godavari recently.
District collector H. Arun Kumar, in a meeting held recently constituted a committee comprising officials from departments including factories, pollution control board, fire, labour, electric inspectorate, boilers, revenue and others with deputy chief inspector of factories as member-secretary and the collector as chairman. The committee is entrusted with the task of inspecting all 12 shrimp processing units spread across the district and find out whether they are complying with safety norms and submit a report in a month’s time.
The factories’ authorities say that ammonia sensors were installed at almost all the shrimp processing units very recently. However, they want to find out whether the number of sensors is installed in proportion to the production capacity of the shrimp processing units and also to check whether they are in full operational stage. The move is aimed to ensure that the adequate number of ammonia sensors to be installed at the units to get alarm immediately whenever any leak is developed and help the people to run to safety.
At a shrimp processing unit located in Karapa mandal, ammonia gas leaked when about 150 workers were on their job on March 22. Fortunately, the sensors installed at the unit sounded an alarm helping the workers run for safety and major tragedy of affecting the workers was averted. Earlier, lack of adequate oxygen supplies at Nekkanti Sea Foods unit caused the workers to get suffocated for two times in about five months in the district.
As the processed shrimps are to be frozen to enhance their shelf-life, ammonia is used for the purpose. Any failure to handle the ammonia which flows through the pipelines to the freezing equipment results in leaks and affecting the workers. Deputy chief inspector of factories M.V. Siva Kumar Reddy said, “We will inspect all 12 shrimp processing units and find out whether they are complying with safety norms or not. We will ensure that all units to have functional ammonia sensors and other safety equipment.”