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Chemical leak at Singapore plant kill 3 Indians


Kuala Lumpur, March 01, 2009
Balwinder Chadha/Gary Singh

On Friday, three Indian workers at Chemic Industries, Tuas, southwestern Singapore, were killed and two others badly injured due to leakage of chemicals.

The workers were conducting equipment maintenance when the small quantity of nitric acid leaked from the flange joint and suffered severe burns on their bodies.

They were married and their families are in India. According to local news media, their families have been notified.

From Kuala Lumpur, Balwinder said, due to rapid advancements in the field of industrialization, there are huge chemicals plants – dealing with all kinds of chemicals. Some of these chemical plants could be dealing with hazardous materials.

Risks associated with chemicals and chemical industries include:

  • Blast of certain equipments involved in large chemical plants, e.g. boiler etc.
  • Leakage of chemicals wherever they are stored/transported/used in small quantities etc.
  • Sometimes, harmless chemicals can also turn out to be hazardous, after they come in contact with other chemicals.

On 3 December 1984, Bhopal Union Carbide plant released 42 tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas, exposing more than 500,000 people to toxic gases- 2,259 died at the spot, estimated 8,000 died within two weeks and an additional 8,000 have since died from gas-related diseases.

Most people believe that it is the responsibility of the factory owner and the managers to maintain adequate safety. This is true but even if the owner/manger is punished, the harm is already done to the workers. The chemical accidents can be prevented, and, even if they do occur, the loss is minimal if every worker and manage have a traing for safety and responsibility.

Be aware as to what are the kind of chemicals being used/produced/stored/handled at the facility