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November 24, 2010

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Inspectors target big manufacturing corporations

CITY safety inspectors have descended on large manufacturing corporations - most of which are state-owned ones - over the past two days, in the wake of last Monday's blaze in a downtown high-rise that killed at least 58 people.

While most of the companies have strengthened safety management in the aftermath of the inferno, inspectors have still found risks in processes such as the transportation of dangerous chemicals that had been overlooked.

During yesterday's inspection, while examining chlorine production and storage at the Sinopec Shanghai Gaoqiao Petrochemical Co, Cai Weimin, an official with the Shanghai Administration of Work Safety, questioned why all tankers used for transporting chlorine did not have frames fitted over the chemical tanks.

In the event of a vehicle overturning, these could protect the tank and prevent chemicals from leaking.

Cai proposed that the corporation should fit supporting frameworks, even if it would increase costs, as chlorine is highly toxic.

The company also said it would replace chemical protection suits, after inspectors raised concerns.

Two months ago, two warehouses in which the company stored paraffin wax went on fire.

It took firefighters more than six hours to extinguish the blaze and 100 people were evacuated.

On May 9, two massive explosions and an ensuing fire ripped through the company's oil refinery, though there were no reports of injuries.


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