Chemical Disaster Prevention Response

UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Chemical Disaster Prevention and Response

Role of Industry:

As far as chemical accidents are concerned, prevention is the best proactive approach rather than the reactive methods to chemical disasters.

Identification of Hazardous activities

  • A knowledgeable and dedicated team of qualified professionals to evaluate the hazards and risks arising is essential.
  • Use of appropriate hazard identification tools would help in mitigating the hazards.

Maintenance of the plant facility and equipment

  • Proper maintenance of all the equipment and machinery need to be carried out at regular intervals to ensure that the plant facility is safe.

Installation of Vapour / gas detection System

  • Installation of gas / vapour detection system with alarms to detect leak even at micro levels would ensure that the leaks are attended at the early stages.

Compliance with existing rules and regulations

  • Various rules and regulations of the state and centre should be strictly adhered for a sustainable and safe process.

Development of human resource management

  • A good human resource management must be setup by the industry comprising of the top most officials to improve the safety systems in the chemical industry.
  • A congenial environment to be created for smooth interaction between the top management and the employees so that the workers could report substandard practices or hazards in the plant.

Emergency preparedness

  • The industry must have a good emergency response team that can react swiftly to mitigate propagating disasters. Frequent mock drills need to be conducted so that workers are adequately knowledgeable to react to emergency.


Role of Government:

Setting up of accident investigation board and chemical accident database:

An accident investigation board in similar lines of chemical safety board of USA can be set up in India to investigate the chemical disaster and bring out guidelines based on the lessons learnt in each incident would be helpful to prevent its reoccurrence.

  • Similar initiatives are required in setting up accident reporting system and exclusive chemical accident case database.
  • An online portal would help industries tackle a wide range of concerns from experts around the world that would help in preventing of any unforeseen conditions arising out of the plant operation.

Awareness campaigns:

The government can provide awareness regarding the hazards arising arise out a chemical disaster to the workers as well as the public. A good knowledge about the hazards by the workers themselves would help in reducing unsafe acts as well as in tackling the disaster if it were to happen.

Research and development:

Research and development initiative to newer technologies that can minimise the toxicity of the by-products of chemical industries can be carried out by the government. Research into newer methods of producing the product with less toxicity can substantially reduce the adverse effect if any accident were to happen.

Offsite Emergency Planning:

The purpose of offsite emergency plan is to ensure that the local authority adequately discharges his duty to minimize the consequences of major accident to people and environment in MAH located sites. This planning exercise should be performed as per our rule and regulations. Creating public awareness about the hazards and its consequences is utmost important so that they can contribute in mitigating and post-disaster activities.

Transportation of Hazardous Chemicals:

 Swift and timely availability of emergency response for disaster during transportation of hazardous chemical will help in mitigating and rescue the public involved.

  • Indian Chemical Council (ICC) has initiated a program called “Nicerglobe” which provides GPRS tracking of trucks right form its origin to the place of destination.
  • The Nicerglobe platform is well linked to the emergency response providers. Chemical companies are advised to join in this initiative of ICC to protect their hazards good transportation.


Role of Public

  • General Awareness:

A general awareness of the risk associated with any chemical accident would help in reducing the outcome of the accident

  • Setting up of a mutual aid group:

A mutual aid group can be setup to organize the general public in case of any disaster and provide training and awareness about the potential actions to be taken in case of any chemical leakage.


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