Cuddalore, 10 March, 2006 — An explosion in an acid tanker undergoing welding work at a workshop in Cuddalore Old Town killed a driver’s assistant today. According to one unconfirmed report, the tanker was returning after having supplied chemicals from SIPCOT-based Shasun Chemicals to a factory in Pondicherry, when it sprung a leak. The tanker was taken to a workshop to fix the leak. Even as the welding was in progress, the truck cleaner (driver’s assistant) climbed atop the tanker and opened the hatch. There was a sudden explosion and the cleaner was killed on the spot.
Although, the Hazardous Chemicals Rules require chemicals to be handled and transported only by authorised and trained companies, there is no enforcement of these rules. Often drivers and cleaners of chemical tankers neither know what exactly is being transported, or how it should be handled.
The District Environmental Engineer of the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board is reportedly investigating the incident.
Further details are awaited.