Panel probing deadly south Indian gas leak finds LG Polymers negligent

“There were no proper preventive mechanisms to avert such incidents and the warning siren facility was also not in order,” the Andhra Pradesh government statement on the committee’s findings said

 

CHENNAI/SEOUL: 

A committee probing a gas leak at an LG Polymers-run plant in southern India that killed 12 has found the company was negligent and had no preventive mechanisms or warning systems, an Indian state government said on Monday.

 

Toxic styrene gas leaked from the plant near the southern city of Visakhapatnam in May, choking many who were sleeping and hospitalizing hundreds.

 

“There were no proper preventive mechanisms to avert such incidents and the warning siren facility was also not in order,” the Andhra Pradesh government statement on the committee’s findings said.

 

The government said there had been a lack of adherence to safety protocols and timely emergency response measures at the plant.

 

An investigation into a deadly gas leak at a South Korean-owned chemical plant in southern India that killed 12 people in May recommended the factory be moved away from inhabited areas, according to its full report released on Tuesday.

 

The probe at the plant run by LG Polymers, owned by South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd, found the company was negligent and warning systems were not working, the local state government said on Monday.The investigation was set up after toxic styrene gas leaked from the chemical plant near the Indian city of Visakhapatnam in the early hours of May 7, choking many people who were sleeping and killing 12.

 

LG Chem said on Tuesday it had undertaken a host of safety measures.

 

“We have fully cooperated for the investigation, and we will sincerely respond to the probe result and take corresponding measures,” LG Chem said in a statement.

 

In its report,the committee listed 21 major reasons for the accident including improper storage design,haphazard maintenance of the old storage tank and disregard for red flags. It blamed the company’s management for 20 of those causes.

 

The temperature inside the oldest of the three storage tanks holding styrene monomer, a chemical used in making polystyrene products, rose to more than six times the permitted level due to polymerization, a chemical reaction that generates heat.

 

“The company management had ignored the rise in polymer content from 4th April 2020 and then the sharp rise on 25th April 2020/28th April 2020,” the committee said.

 

“The management considers polymer content as a quality measure for styrene rather than a safety measure,” it said.


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