A contract construction labourer working at Vishakapatanam's Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) died as the a wall collapsed on him on Thursday evening. According to official sources, as many as five labourers were working at the low-lift pumping station near the Scindia pipeline. While four escaped with minor injuries, one worker, Ramesh Kumar (35), died after he was trapped under the debris. The incident is reportedly the result of heavy seepage of water under the wall in the premises.
A team of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) reached the spot when the incident was reported and conducted a rescue operation. However, heavy seepage of water created hurdles. Rameshâ€™s body was recovered after hours of rescue efforts.
Ramesh, who hailed from Bihar, has been shifted to the King George Hospital (KGH) for the postmortem. Harbour Division Police have registered a case of accidental death and are investigating it.
Speaking to TNM, Durga Prasad Inspector Malakpet said, "The incident took place around 7 pm-7.30 pm. As the workers are working at the spot, a wall at the pumping station premises suddenly collapsed on them. While one died after he was trapped under the debris, four escaped without any major injuries. A case of accidental death has been registered. We are looking into any lapses in the standard operating procedure."
Meanwhile, local Jana Sena leaders and activists alleged that the company has not been enforcing safety precautions while such works are carried out, putting the workers and employees at risk.
Speaking to regional media, a Jana Sena leader alleged, "We have been constantly cautioning the company about the lack of safety precautions as such mishaps have taken place in the past. Be it the LG Polymers accident or crane accident at Shipyard or the wall collapse at this HPCL, it is all because of the failure to ensure minimum security measures. The water seepage occurred due to the security lapses."
Vishakapatnam witnessed two major mishaps in its industrial zones earlier this year. In May, as many as 12 people were killed after the styrene vapour leaked from the LG polymers company and 11 people were killed in the crane accident at the Hindustan Shipyard in July. After both the incidents, several questions on the alleged lapses in safety measures and standard operating procedures were raised.