Irrespective of all focus on compliance by the textile industry, mishaps due to negligence continue to take place claiming lives of innocent workers.
In one such sad incident held recently in Tirupur, four migratory workers of a textile washing unit lost their lives. These workers were from Assam, which is more than 3,000 kilometres from Tirupur, India’s biggest hub of knitted apparel manufacturing in India for export as well as domestic market.
Apparel Resources approached S Nagarajan, President, Dyers Association of Tirupur. Commenting over the incident, he said, “It was a washing unit and not the member of our association. As best of my knowledge, the incident took place while cleaning a septic tank.”
He further added that there are around 50 to 100 such units in Tirupur working almost in similar way.
The unit, situated at Karuppa Goundan Palayam employing more than 10 people, is sealed by the officials and legal process has been started against the unit’s owner M. Jayakumar of Coimbatore. He was booked by the local police under Sections 287 (Negligent conduct with respect to machinery) and 304 A (Causing death by negligence) of the IPC.
As per the media reports, the unit was not registered with the Department of Industrial Safety and Health (DISH), had not obtained DISH’s approval apart from not renewing a licence issued by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB). Officials from different department conducting joint inquiry and detailed report will be submitted to the Government soon.
As per the media reports, the incident took place when worker Farooq Ahamed entered the tank to clean it. He fainted after inhaling the noxious fumes. Three other workers went into the tank, and fainted one after the other. They were pulled out by other workers. The bodies of the deceased Farooq Ahamed (22), Anwar Hussain (24) his brother Dilwar Hussain, (23) and Abu (22) were sent to their native district Cachar district of Assam after post-mortem.
“The workers were asphyxiated while cleaning the chemical residue stored in the tanks which were used for recycling the waste water generated in the textile washing unit,” reported a leading English daily. The unit was lying idle for more than a month. The level of oxygen was very low in the tanks as poisonous sediments of the effluents were not cleared for a long time.
After the inspection of the unit an official informed that the workers had started clearing the tanks from 9.30 a.m. They had cleaned two tanks till 1 pm and they were asphyxiated while cleaning the third one. The unit owner should have used machineries and checked the oxygen levels in the 10-foot tanks before cleaning them.
According to District Environmental Engineer Senthil Vinayagam, TNPCB had served a notice to the textile washing unit after sewage water filled with effluents was found released into open space without recycling it.