On May 7 2020 around 3:00 am a deadly toxic gas got leaked from LG Polymers causing death of 12 people and injury to many hundreds. The main reason that was suspected for the cause of leakage was lack of maintaince of the machines. On May 8, 2020 National Green Tribunal
(NGT) took up suo moto in the matter of LG Polymers chemical Plant in RR venkatapuram village Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The NGT had directed the organization to deposit a compensation amount of Rs 50 Crore with the District Magistrate, Vishakhapatnam.
The High Power committee (HPC) formed by the Government so as to investigate in the matter of styrene vapour leak from LG Polymers in Visakhapatnam with utmost care. The committee submitted a 4000 page report to the chief minister Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy at Amarvati on Monday 6 th July 2020.
The report stated that human negligence and lapse of serious safety and security had led to the accident. The High Power Panel was set up by the Chief Minister which was headed by Special chief secretary (Environment and forests) Neerabh Kumar Prasad to investigate thoroughly in the
The other members of the panel was Special chief Secretary (Industries and commerce department) R. Karikal Valaven, Vishakhapatnam collector V. Vinay chand, City police Commissioner R.K. Meena, Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) member secretary Vivek Yadav, Directorate General, factory Advice service and Labour Industries (DGFASLI) Director General R.K Elangovan and Bharat Kumar Sharma, Regional Director of CPCB, Pune.
In the report the panel found fault with the LG Polymers Management and stated that there was lack of proper safety response preparedness at the plant. Mr. Neerabh Prasad said that the main reasons that was found out apart from the human negligence was that there was poor design of the storage tank, inadequate refrigeration and faulty cooling system, absence of
circulation and mixing system, inadequate measures and parameters, poor safety protocol, inadequate safety awareness.
The panel also:
found fault towards inadequate risk management assessment response, poor process management system, and insufficient knowledge among the staffs about the chemical properties of styrene during storage conditions.
They further added that protocols during emergency response and safety during the lockdown period was not followed by the concern authorities. Mr. Neerabh Prasad further said that on 24 th April 2020 the tank gave an initial signal of polymerisation but no corrective actions were taken by the organization, had it been taken at the right time then the accident would have been averted.
The report states that the company had failed in activating the emergency siren system despite having 36 siren points including at the entrance gate. Had the plant management siren in time then people would have got a signal of the forthcoming danger to their life. Adding more the report also stated that the company did not keep sufficient stock of inhibitors and other terminating chemicals to control the runaway reaction.
The styrene vapour leaked due to
auto polymerisation in the tank. The Chief Minister accepted the report and ordered that the entire document should be uploaded in the public domain for people to access and also for the respective authorities to tale necessary legal action against the organization under relevant sections of the law.
During the investigation the HPC had several meetings with the officials of the NGT as well as with the petrochemical experts, technical committee members formed by the HPC, citizens, political parties and new reporters and others. The committee had also sent a questionnaire to the management of LG Polymers through the channel of factory department.