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Death of this 24-yr-old trainee due to mishap puts ONGC’s safety practices under scanner

In the aftermath of the accident, an internal ONGC circular shows that the organisation has recalled GTs from active operations ‘till their competency is established’

In the aftermath of the accident, an internal ONGC circular shows that the organisation has recalled GTs from active operations ‘till their competency is established’. (Representative Image only)
In the aftermath of the accident, an internal ONGC circular shows that the organisation has recalled GTs from active operations ‘till their competency is established’. (Representative Image only)
  • The trainee was deputed to a rig of ONGC’s Rajahmundry asset within four months of being recruited by the Maharatna company, sources have claimed

  • An internal circular released by ONGC after the GT's death read, 'Attached list of new GTs should be withdrawn from active operations till their competency is established'

New Delhi: A recent death of a 24-year-old trainee at Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has put the focus back on the state of industrial safety measures being followed at the state-run organisation. This is because the trainee was deputed to a rig of ONGC’s Rajahmundry asset (E-760-M) within four months of being recruited by the Maharatna company when the training period for new recruits before deputation to active operations at rigs is one year, sources who spoke to PSU Watch on the condition of anonymity, have claimed. The trainee has died after meeting with an accident during rig operation. 

And in addition, in the immediate aftermath of the accident, an internal ONGC circular accessed by PSU Watch shows that the organisation has recalled all the Graduate Trainees (GT) from active operations “till their competency is established.” This begs the question, why were they deputed to active operations if their “competency” wasn’t established? Questions sent to ONGC by PSU Watch remain unanswered at the time of the publication of this story. This story will be updated whenever a response is received.

So, what happened at ONGC’s Rajahmundry rig?

According to sources, the accident occurred on November 25 “during parallel operation of running single by single and picking up of single with air winch.” The 24-year-old trainee was seriously injured during the accident and was on ventilation at Apollo Hospital in Hyderabad. He passed away on November 28, leaving behind his mother and sister. A relative of the trainee, who spoke to PSU Watch, said that he was the sole breadwinner in the family, as his father and brother had passed away. 

What does the ONGC internal circular say?

In the aftermath of the incident, ONGC, in a circular dated November 27, said, “Attached list of new GTs should be withdrawn from active operations till their competency is established.” It also said that new PPE (personal protective equipment) will be provided to new GTs and colour code of their hat will be changed from yellow to green. In addition, a ‘buddy’ will be assigned to each new GT from their shift crew to guide them till they “understand all types of operations at rig,” and mentoring will be done by senior executive of the shift till the GT develops competency to take part in actual operations at rig. 

The circular, reviewed by PSU Watch, mandates on-line training for all GTs who have joined ONGC in the last three years in the first week of December. After one-cycle time period, the new GT’s competency is to be evaluated by the rig manager and then by the HDS via an interview for final approval before allowing them into active operation, said the circular. Sources have said that safety managers have been asked to visit rigs regularly and observe the unsafe operations and record their observations. 

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However, according to the Oil Mines Regulations, 1984, the Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) already mandates safety officers to “inspect, as often as may be necessary, the installations of the mine with a view to identify the dangers which may cause bodily injury or impair health of any person.”

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