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Security of labourers Working at Firecracker Factories


Authored by - Thejuswini

Keywords - Firecrackers factories, hazardous substances, firecracker industries, security labourers.


Abstract

In this article, we shall come across one of the major examples of the firecracker industry in India and the deaths subsequently caused due to the manufacturing of firecrackers. It aims to cover the safety measures that should be taken up while manufacturing firecrackers and discuss the legislation in India, which governs the firecracker industry in India.


Introduction


West Bengal is the first place where handmade fireworks came into existence. The production of fireworks has been standing since the time of freedom struggle and it is existing even now. As there was a ban on the import of fireworks after independence, the production of the same was confined to the southern parts of the country.[1] With the closing down and banning of the import of fireworks, Indians adopted new modern techniques and technology for producing firecrackers. Though the adoption of new technology and techniques was beneficial, it had its own disadvantages too. On the contrary, the disadvantages override the number of benefits.


Legislations that Govern the Production of Firecrackers in India.


The Explosive Act 1908 and The Explosive (Amendment) Rules, 2019 are those legislations that are said to be governing those industries that are manufacturing substances, which are explosive in nature.[2]


The Explosive Act, 1908


The main objective of forming or enacting The Explosives Act, 1908 is to safeguard people's lives and to hinder infamous incidents like causing injury to people's property etc.[3]


Furthermore, this Act considers an act of a person to be an offense when that person uses the explosives or has possession of the same in an illicit manner. In short, this Act lays down punishments to punish those people who are in possession of explosives or have utilized it illegally.

The Explosive (Amendment) Rules, 2019


In order to amend the Explosive Rules of 2008, The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion introduced the Explosive (Amendment) Rules, 2019 on January 09, 2019.[4] This legislation has the authority to control and manage the manufacturing process of firecrackers in the industries.


Famous Example of Firecracker Industry in India: Firework industries in Sivakasi


Sivakasi is a city in the district of Tamil Nadu, India.[5] This city is well known for the production of firecrackers. It is in this place where people are producing crackers for generations now. The people working in these factories are facing a hard time, as they hardly have any access to the necessary safety measures or the equipment for saving themselves from the chemicals which they are exposed to, for prolonged periods of time. Most of the time they tend to work in these factories by risking their lives, so as to earn money for their livelihood. When it comes to the work area, the rooms neither have any windows nor it has access to electricity. Both of these are not made available so as to avoid fire accidents and explosions. The major issue to be noted here is that the people working inside such chambers will get exposed to severe health issues due to the absence of a proper ventilation system within the chambers. These chambers are neither in the form of electrical appliances nor in the form of windows.


Fire accidents in Sivakasi have killed dozens of people to date. Approximately, 116 and more labourers are killed due to the explosion and chemicals used by them for making the crackers in these factories.[6] Majorly the fire accidents have occurred in this area due to the employment of unskilled labourers without providing them, the adequate training accompanied with the lack of supervision.

Safety Measures are to be Taken to Avoid Accidents.


1. Training Programmes


As there is mass recruitment of unskilled labourers in the firm, there arises an issue of the workers not knowing the necessary precautionary measures that have to be taken up while manufacturing firecrackers. They lack the required skillset and expertise due to their lack of experience. Thus, in order to make them aware of the steps which are to be taken, special training sessions, programs and camps ought to be conducted to raise awareness about the possible consequences of the firecrackers. These sessions should be conducted by the manufacturing units before the recruitment process.[7]

2. Local Language


The people who work in firecracker industries are mostly from the rural areas of a state. As a result of the same, the training sessions should be conducted in those local languages in which the people of the particular local area are well versed with.[8]

3. Storage


The firecrackers should be stored in those areas, where there are no chances of it getting lighted up all by itself. In short, it should be kept in areas where it can be easily accessed. Usually, storing crackers in inaccessible heights creates such issues. Therefore, the workers should make sure that the crackers are stored at an accessible-height or place so that they can be handled easily and accidents are avoided.[9]


4. Installation of Static Current Discharge Plates


A static current discharge plate is an equipment, which has the ability to drain any type of electricity charges from a person's body. These can be used since accidents tend to occur in firecracker industries primarily due to reasons like friction, static electricity charges and human errors.[10] Therefore, the installation of static electricity plates is quite essential and should be a prerequisite in a firecracker industry. It will reduce the chances of people getting injured due to static electricity charges.[11]

5. Manufacturing of Crackers to be Confined to the Factories


There are circumstances where children are sent to work in factories on a contractual basis. Subsequently, such children are made to work at their homes. In such cases, the people who are inside the house, especially the ones who are not exposed to the work of manufacturing firecrackers would result in creating firecracker accidents. So, it should be made sure that the manufacturing of crackers is confined to the industries itself. The industries should also make sure that they are hiring children on the basis of their age limits provided under labour laws and legislations.[12]


Conclusion


From this particular article, we could conclude that the accidents happening in the firecracker production factories are due to several factors like inadequate training, less supervision, errors while working, climatic conditions etc. Thus, it is very much necessary to provide the labourers with training sessions and equipment, which shall safeguard them from accidents caused by these hazardous firecrackers.

  1. Shodhganaga,https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/jspui/bitstream/10603/21412/11/11_chapter%205.pdf (Last visited 6 September 2020)

  2. Assist. Prof. Pankaj Umbarkar, Priyanka Mohod, Antiphon of Law with Use of Explosive Substances in India, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2361160 (Last visited 6 September 2020)

  3. Avantis RegTech Legal Research Team, Explosives (Amendment) Rules, 2019, https://www.avantis.co.in/updates/article/4911/explosives-amendment-rules-2019/, (Last visited 6 September 2020)

  4. BBC, Sivakasi: India's dangerous fireworks capital, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-19596089, (Last visited 6 September 2020)

  5. Prabhakar Tamilarasu, https://thefederal.com/the-eighth-column/why-the-fate-of-sivakasi-cracker-workers-is-clouded-in-smoke/, (Last visited 5 September 2020)

  6. Mayank Jain, Four ways to stop frequent deaths in India's notorious fireworks factories, https://scroll.in/article/684688/four-ways-to-stop-frequent-deaths-in-indias-notorious-fireworks-factories (Last visited 5 September 2020)

  7. The Times of India, To avoid accidents in cracker units let’s light up the sky, not blast it, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/tracking-indian-communities/to-avoid-accidents-in-cracker-units-lets-light-up-the-sky-not-blast-it (Last visited 5 September 2020)

  8. Shodhganga,https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/25287/6/06_chapter%25201.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjw6OG8tfrAhVT63MBHUCaAMQFjANegQICBAB&usg=AOvVaw11TgYakP0_egVSz9d4TrAg (Last visited 5 September 2020)

References


[1]Shodhganaga,https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/jspui/bitstream/10603/21412/11/11_chapter%205.pdf (Last visited 6 September 2020) [2] Assist. Prof. Pankaj Umbarkar, Priyanka Mohod, Antiphon of Law with Use of Explosive Substances in India, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2361160 (Last visited 6 September 2020) [3]Avantis RegTech Legal Research Team, Explosives (Amendment) Rules, 2019, https://www.avantis.co.in/updates/article/4911/explosives-amendment-rules-2019/, (Last visited 6 September 2020) [4]BBC, Sivakasi: India's dangerous fireworks capital, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-19596089, (Last visited 6 September 2020) [5]Prabhakar Tamilarasu, https://thefederal.com/the-eighth-column/why-the-fate-of-sivakasi-cracker-workers-is-clouded-in-smoke/, (Last visited 5 September 2020) [6]Mayank Jain, Four ways to stop frequent deaths in India's notorious fireworks factories, https://scroll.in/article/684688/four-ways-to-stop-frequent-deaths-in-indias-notorious-fireworks-factories (Last visited 5 September 2020) [7] The Times of India, To avoid accidents in cracker units let’s light up the sky, not blast it, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/tracking-indian-communities/to-avoid-accidents-in-cracker-units-lets-light-up-the-sky-not-blast-it/ (Last visited 5 September 2020) [8] The Times of India, To avoid accidents in cracker units let’s light up the sky, not blast it, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/tracking-indian-communities/to-avoid-accidents-in-cracker-units-lets-light-up-the-sky-not-blast-it/ (Last visited 5 September 2020) [9]Shodhganga,https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/25287/6/06_chapter%25201.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjw6OG8-tfrAhVT63MBHUCaA-MQFjANegQICBAB&usg=AOvVaw11TgYakP0_egVSz9d4TrAg (Last visited 5 September 2020) [10]The Times of India, To avoid accidents in cracker units let’s light up the sky, not blast it, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/tracking-indian-communities/to-avoid-accidents-in-cracker-units-lets-light-up-the-sky-not-blast-it/ (Last visited 5 September 2020) [11] Mayank Jain, Four ways to stop frequent deaths in India's notorious fireworks factories, https://scroll.in/article/684688/four-ways-to-stop-frequent-deaths-in-indias-notorious-fireworks-factories (Last visited 5 September 2020)

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