A day after six people died in a gas leak at the Gerdau Steel plant at Tadipatri in Anantapur district, an expert committee comprising of the Andhra Pradesh Industries Department, police and disaster management officials have begun the investigation into the accident. The expert committee will investigate and ascertain the cause of the accident at the Gerdau Steel plant on Thursday.
"An expert team has been constituted and is inquiring into the case as to know if the safety measures were taken or not. It will investigate to find whether there were any lapses in following security measures," said Surendranath Reddy Circle Inspector, Tadipatri Rural. "We have also taken into custody 15 people to prevent the law and order situation from deteriorating in the area. We have detained them under CRPC 151 and will later release them," he added.
Police say the six victims of the accident were contract employees and regular labourers. Gerdau Steel India is working out a compensation package for the families of those deceased. The steel plant had also paid compensation to the victim of an accident who had suffered major burns that took place at the Gerdau's Tadipatri plant in 2016.
Speaking to TNM, Sridhar Krishnamoorthy the Managing Director for Gerdau Steel India said, "We are in discussions with the local authorities and will do our best to help the families. We are yet to ascertain the root cause of the accident. We have procedures that have to be followed at the steel plant and have to see if they were followed or if there were any behavioural issues. Normally we would need a day or two to find out the root cause of such accidents. First, we are attending to the families and parallelly we will be starting our own investigation,"
The gas leakage took place in the furnace wing of the plant. Eight workers collapsed after inhaling gas, while others managed to escape. While six workers died, two others have been hospitalised following the gas leak.
Gerdau is the 18th largest steel producer in the world, their steel plant in Andhra Pradesh is their first in Asia and has the capacity to produce 300,000 tons of special steel per year.
It had suspended operations at the unit and will resume only after an extensive safety inspection.