11 killed in RINL Visakhapatnam steel plant explosion

14.06.2012

11 employees were killed and several sustained serious burn injuries in a major explosion on June 13, 2012 at RINL Visakhapatnam steel plant, Andhra Pradesh, India.

INDIA: Eleven employees, including some of the senior officers, were killed and several sustained burn injuries in a major accident in Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. (RINL) Visakhapatnam steel plant on June 13, 2012. The accident occurred in the recently expanded area of the plant at about 8.30 p.m during a trial run of a newly-commissioned oxygen plant in steel melt shop 2.

According to trade union representatives, the explosion caused the death of eight employees on the spot and three succumbed to injuries later. Many more were admitted in various hospitals in Visakhapatnam with serious injuries.

The major capacity expansion of public sector RINL Visakhapatnam steel plant, from 2.9 million tonnes to a level of 6.3 million tonnes per annum, was completed recently. However trade union representatives allege that owing to negligence of the management and inadequate deployment of skilled personnel a number of accidents are taking place.

Expressing deep condolences to the bereaved, Rajashekar Mantri, Vice President, Indian National Metalworkers' Federation (INMF) said, "Workers will not tolerate such negligent attitude of the management. At all costs the management should take immediate steps to ensure workers' safety." He called for a thorough probe into the accident and expressed concern over the procurement of inferior quality materials.

Safety at the Vishkapatnam steel plant came under serious questioning in recent times following an accident on May 1, 2012, when two contract workers were burnt to death in an explosion in blast furnace-3 of the plant.  According to official estimates in public sector steel units alone, 155 workers lost their lives and 1,070 workers were injured in accidents from the year 2006 to 2010 (October).