In a tragic incident in Ambur, three workers asphyxiated to death at a leather factory. The incident took place on Monday afternoon when the three workers at Maruti Leathers were cleaning the tanks at the factory.
Selvam (25) Kothandan (23) and Ranganathan (41) the supervisor, had entered the tank at the reverse osmosis plant of the factory. They were tasked with cleaning the tank filled with chemical effluents. The workers had no safety equipment on them.
The toxic gas reportedly asphyxiated the men, who drowned to death, in the tank that was 10 feet deep. The incident took place around 3 pm on Monday.
According to ToI, Selvam drowned first and his colleague Kothandam died trying to save him. The supervisor who went to rescue the two also asphyxiated.
When the authorities came to send their bodies for post mortem, distraught family members demanded that the management of the leather unit be arrested before their bodies are taken away. The family members alleged that the workers were not given any safety equipment to work with.
In December last year, in a similar incident, three men asphyxiated to death at a gold manufacturing unit when they inhaled toxic fumes. The men were extracting gold dust particles from a wastewater tank.
The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act penalizes employers who continue to engage manual labourers for scavenging acts. The local authorities in the area are to ensure that such employment does not take place. While the Act presently covers insanitary latrines, it does not take into account work of this nature that involves labourers to enter tanks.