RECENT TYPICAL ACCIDENTS IN THE STATE OF KARNATAKA IN THE LAST THREE MONTHS

 

1. Safe handling of turtled down gas tanker saved life, limb and property

 

A truck tanker carrying liquefied petroleum gas from Mangalore to Nanjangudu in the district of Mysore had capsized on the road side in the wee hours of Friday, the 09lh September 2005.

 

The scene of the accident was so severe that the whole tanker assembly had got dislodged from the main car, the mountings were mangled and had blocked part of the National Highway no. 17. The incident called for the immediate attention of the District Administration like Police, Fire Services, the Revenue services and the Technical services. The District Administration had responded immediately to control the situation. The authorities were required for total prohibition of vehicular traffic of all kinds in the National highway no. 17 for almost 22 hours. The tanker filled with 18Mt of LPG was required to be transferred to another vessel before the road could be cleared for normal traffic. The district administration summoned the emergency relief van which was available with Indian Oil Corporation, lndane Bottling Plant at Devangonthi in Bangalore Rural District which was almost 200 kms away from the site of incident. A technical team having expertised knowledge who accompanied the emergency relief van had worked round the clock for almost 10 hours before the LPG could be completely evacuated from the capsized tanker to the empty tanker.

 

The emptying of liquid LPG which was under a pressure of 60 pounds per square inch was not an easy task. The technical team and the fire services, under the guidance of the police authorities and official of the department of Factories and Boilers were Lo pump in almost 6000 gallons of water for safe evacuation of the liquefied LPG. The district administration have displayed an excellent reflex action in controlling the situation even under hostile nature of continuous rain, but for their action there would have been a disaster killing many people and destroying certain amount of property at the site of incident. The district administration had employed all technically reasonable and practicable methods in their operation of salvage which includes using of explosive meter and communication lines. The appreciation goes to fire services, police and the technical experts from HPCL & IOCL, the Department of Factories and Boilers official and the Nanjanjudu Industries Association.

 

The salvage operation which took 22 hours goes into the books of records as one of the quickest responses displayed by the district administration heard in the recent times to a disaster site and establishment of excellent communication and coordination amongst the various authorities and agencies.

 

2. Improper installation of quenching tank - quenched the life of a worker.

 

The process of case hardening of mild steel components involves, heating of components in a heat treatment furnace up to a desired temperature of 870C for about 2 - 3 hours and then quenching the, components in the oil, stored in a oil tank for about 30 - 45 minutes. The, quenching oil temperature is maintained between 65 - 70C. After quenching the, components are shifted to cooling pit for atmospheric cool.

 

In a factory, where the above said process was being carried out, an overhead crane of one tonne capacity mounted on an I-section was used for shifting and handling the components into the furnace, quenching oil tank and cooling pit. The loading and unloading of the components from the furnace, quenching oil tank and cooling pit was being carried by an helper engaged through a contractor.

 

On a fateful day, the said worker was handling the components, meant for heat treatment, standing near the quenching oil tank. The worker pulled the chain of the overhead crane instantaneously, and swayed the components, as a result the crane loaded with the component picked up undesirable speed due to the sudden jerk the momentum caused by the swaying action. Consequent to this, the worker also moved along with the components and stumbled near the quenching oil tank and drowned himself into the hot bath of oil stored ill the unfenced oil tank which was a temperature of about 65 C to 700 C and latter he succumbed to death.

 

The above accident could have been averted

 

1.                  if the oil quenching tank was, provided with a fence all around or if the tank was provided above the floor level.

2.                  if proper instruction, training had been imparted to the worker involved in the above process

3.                  if proper supervision was provided during the operation.

4.                  if the pathway was provided at a suitable height below the brim of oil tank to prevent accidental fall.

 

3. Insertion of hand into a rotating part - resulted in amputation.

 

The process of manufacture of wheat products like Maida, Soji and Atta from the whole wheat, involves milling of wheat at different stages. 'During the process of milling of whole wheat, foreign particles like gunny threads, twines, stalks etc. are segregated and also lot of dust is generated. In order to remove these foreign particles and the dust generated a rotary valve for air lock is provided

 

On a fateful day, a worker engaged through a contractor was entrusted the task of removing the bags, filled with dust and other foreign material from the chute connected to the outlet of the rotary valve. The unskilled worker when had noticed that the bag, connected to the chute of the rotary valve was not filled, even after same hours of work, thought that the rotary valve provided for airlock installed between the chute and cyclone is jammed. To ascertain this, he reached the service platform and viewed the chute through the sight glass and found that the chute had actually jammed with dust and foreign materials. Unmindful of the consequences he removed the sight glass provided and inserted his left hand into the rotary valve body to remove the twine, stalks and other foreign particles. When the machinery was in motion In the process, his left hand got stuck between the rotary valve body and the blades which was rotating hence, severely crushed. Later his left hand was amputed up to the wrist level.

 

This accident could have been averted, had the:

 

1.                  Proper sensing device to sense the jam was installed to trip the rotor of the rotary valve when such jams occurred.

2.                  if proper instruction, training had been imparted to the worker involved in the above process.

3.                  if proper supervision was provided during the operation.

 

4.            Entry of hydrocarbon in gas cylinder - resulted in explosion

 

The manufacturing process of Oxygen and Nitrogen involves the separation of Oxygen and Nitrogen from the atmospheric air in an air separator unit and then these gasses are compressed to about 80 KSCG and then filled-into the respective cylinders through gas manifolds.

 

In a factory, where Oxygen and Nitrogen was manufactured, 02 out of 16 Oxygen cylinders connected to a gas manifold for filling the compressed Oxygen exploded causing damage to the filling section. The filling section was reduced to debris, resulted in the death of two persons and also the cylinders completely rip opened. Upon detail examination of the cylinder, it was found that, discolourisation of the internal surface had taken place, due to our heating and internal combustion, caused due to the presence of hydrocarbon i.e. oil or grease. During the course of filling the compressed oxygen at high pressure i.e. above 80 KSCG, ignition of hydrocarbon (oil I grease) which might have inadvertently entered the cylinder has taken place on account of the sufficient heat generated by the adiabatic compression of Oxygen causing the explosion of cylinders due to the internal combustion.

 

This accident could have been averted had

 

1.            proper sensor i.e. oil trace detectors were used to detect the oil traces inside the cylinder. The use of such equipment is highly expensive, but justified to prevent such catastrophes.

2.            the following characteristics are scrupulously checked.

 

 

Sl. No.

Characteristics checked

Method of check

Extent of check

Decision

1

Shoulder marking

Visual

100%

 

2

Body damage

Visual

100%

Free from dents, cuts, digs or gouges, corrosion/ pitting, lamination of cylinder body

3

Cylinder identification colour

Visual

100%

Standard colour prescribed shall be adhered.

4

Check valve contamination.

Visual

100%

Check valve shall be free from oil, grease and other contamination.

5

Check valve thread condition.

Visual

100%

Check valve thread shall be in original contour and profile.

6

Accumulation of hydrocarbon

Trade Detector

100%

Inside surface of the Cylinder shall be free from hvdrocarbon

 

5. Medling the cage in suspension medled the life of four persons

 

Stove facilities for blast furnaces are built for preheating the air to elevate the temperature, between 1100 to 1200C and supply the same to the blast furnace. In one such stove, after the completion of the fabrication, the same was taken up for painting. The painting work was carried out by standing on a steel platform suspended from the top of the shell by four guide wire ropes. For lowering and rising of the steel platform a single wire rope connected to the center of the platform was provided. One end of this rope was connected to the center of the platform, the other end was