Tuesday, July 5, 2022

2 years after NLC boiler blast, CEA mandates power plants to hold yearly safety audits

Two years after two fatal fire mishaps were reported at NLC, the CEA has asked all thermal power plants to hold internal safety audits every year

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  • Internal Safety Audits must be carried out once a year through cross functional teams/ internal trained staff and records must be maintained, said the CEA
  • Further, External Safety Audit must be carried out through registered Agencies in 2 years and Action Taken Report (ATR) must be prepared & monitored, it said

New Delhi: Two years after two fatal fire mishaps were reported at Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC), the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has issued an advisory mandating all thermal power plants to hold internal safety audits every year. According to the advisory released by the CEA on Tuesday, “Internal Safety Audits must be carried out once a year through cross functional teams/ internal trained staff and records must be maintained. Further, External Safety Audit must be carried out through registered Agencies at a regular periodicity of 2 years and Action Taken Report (ATR) must be prepared & monitored to ensure early closing of pending recommendations.”

The power sector body said that the advisory was prepared after a safety audit was carried out by a committee during August to November 2021 of different coal and lignite power plants across the country. The audit was carried out in line with an order issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in December 2020, six months after two fire blasts were reported at NLC’s Thermal Power Station-II.

Power plants should adequately fund safety-related activities

In order to improve the safety practices at power plants, the CEA has advised thermal power plants to have a separate budget head for funding safety-related activities. “Ensure a separate budget head in its overall budget provisions to adequately fund safety related activities. Detailed safety manual complying with the statutory requirements and manufacturers’ recommendations must be available with power plant,” the CEA said.

The body has also warned power plants against “excessive accumulation” of coal, lignite dust in some of the vulnerable areas, like crusher house, transfer points, coal, lignite bunker house, etc. “Safety awareness drives must be conducted amongst plant personnel as well as the employees deployed by the Contractors, periodically for the compliance of provisions of safety manuals and to imbibe the safety culture… All major/ minor accidents must be properly investigated and analysed to find the Root Cause of incident/accident,” it added.

“Emergency Response Disaster Management Plan (ERDMP) both On-site & Off-site shall be prepared by all power plants. Ensure that a functional proper Public Address system is in place and also ‘Walkie/ Talkie’ should be mandatorily adopted in the power plants,” said the CEA.

Background

In 2020, two fire incidents were reported within a gap of two months at NLC’s TPS-II in Neyveli. While the first fire mishap occurred on May 7, 2020 at Unit-6 of TPS-II, in which eight people were injured, the second fire accident took place on July 1, 2020 at Unit-5 of the same TPS. In the second accident, a boiler blast had killed six people and injured 17 others.

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