The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued guidelines for restarting manufacturing industries after lockdown as a trial or test run and this can be deemed as a step towards exiting lockdown. However, the ministry has directed that production targets should be kept low, to begin with. It said, "While restarting the unit, consider the first week as the trial or test run period; ensure all safety and protocols and don't try to achieve high production targets."

In a communication sent out to all states and union territories, the Home Ministry has particularly pointed at some slip-ups that have occurred from manufacturers' side as they might not have followed standard operating procedure.

Relaince Jamnagar refinery
Reliance Industries refinery in Jamnagar is the world's biggest refiner.

'The first week should simply be considered as a trial or test run period'

It said that manufacturing facilities with pipelines, valves may have residual chemicals, which may pose risk to the workers and others. It also stated that storage facilities with hazardous chemicals and flammable materials also pose a significant risk.

According to the ministry's guidelines, the first week should simply be considered as a trial or test run period after ensuring all safety protocols. There should be 24-hour sanitisation of the factory premises.

Every two to three hours, the factories will have to carry out sanitization procedures, especially at common areas like lunchrooms and common tables, which will have to be wiped clean with disinfectants after every use.

For accommodation, the Home Ministry said sanitisation needs to be performed regularly to ensure worker safety and reduce the spread of contamination. Employees or workers need to be updated on aspects like strange sounds or smell, exposed wires, vibrations, leaks, smoke, abnormal wobbling, irregular grinding or other potentially hazardous signs.

A complete audit needs to be carried out by the companies of the entire unit before restarting the activities. As per the guidelines, all pipelines, equipment and discharge lines need to be cleaned and taken care of before resuming operations. Tests that ensure the better working of the machinery and the unit like tightness tests, service tests and vacuum tests of plants and equipment have to be ensured.

It should be noted that in the wake of Vishakapatnam incidents where gas leak at an LG polymer plant led to death of 12 persons, precautions that have to be observed while starting the manufacturing units were suggested by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).