Thirty-eight persons were injured, eight of them critically, during maintenance work at a steel factory near Wardha on Wednesday.
“The accident took place around 10 am when nearly 50 workers were carrying out maintenance work at the Uttam Galva Metallic plant at Bhugaon, about 5 km from here,” Wardha Collector Vivek Bhimanwar told The Indian Express. “The accident apparently happened while the workers were removing burnt coke from the furnace… we were told something fell down from the furnace top into the coke, leading to a sudden burst of hot particles and air. Thirty-eight people sustained burn injuries. They have been admitted to the Acharya Vinoba Bhave Medical College and Hospital at Sawangi (Meghe) and Kasturba Hospital Sevagram,” said Bhimanwar.
“Doctors said most of them sustained minor injuries and have been kept under observation for 24 hours. Eight have received more than 40 per cent burns,” said Superintendent of Police Prashant Holkar.
A statement from the company said, “Uttam Galva Metallics prioritises the safety, security and well-being of our workers. This is our biggest priority and we take all necessary steps to ensure safety procedures are followed by our teams at our plants.”
“In an unfortunate incident on the morning of February 3, 38 members of our team were injured while working on emptying a blast furnace. According to the preliminary investigation report, the furnace had been shut down on February 2 for annual maintenance and the furnace evacuation had been completed. A sudden outflow of hot air from the furnace injured teams working in that area as they were unexpectedly exposed to hot air and ash…
“Out of the 38 injured, eight workers have been shifted to a hospital in Nagpur for specialised treatment,” read the statement said, adding, “A detailed internal investigation is also being carried out to identify the cause of the accident and all necessary steps will be taken to address the issue.”
Wardha District Guardian Minister Sunil Kedar said, “An inquiry will be conducted into whether safety norms were violated, leading to the mishap, and strict action will be taken against those responsible.”