Lack of safety equipment in PDD exposes ground staff to risk

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The shortage of safety equipment in the power department is exposing its ground staff to risk during work even as 400 casual labourers of the PDD have died of electrocution in J&K in the last 10 years.

According to sources the department does not have even 10% of the safety equipment required for dealing with the live lines.

“When we talk about safety equipment, we usually talk in the context of personal protective equipment (PPEs). But in addition to PPEs, the safety is more dependent on what we call isolation safety devices and field safety devices. These devices are used to isolate live lines in order to work on them,” a senior official of the department said on condition of anonymity.

“We don’t have even 10% of the devices required for such operations. Our PPE stock doesn’t even go beyond 15 to 20 percent against what is required. Some PPE gear equipment like safety shoes are hardly available,” the official said.

Some PDD officials said that they were taking various measures to procure more safety equipment and improve implementation of the SOP on ground.

Recently in the wake of multiple electrocution deaths of PDD ground staff, the department constituted a seven member committee to work out requirement of isolation, earthing, safety equipment and PEE and financial implications.

MD, Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Ltd, Aijaz Asad said that they have framed a “full plan” to elevate the safety on the ground.

He said the safety equipment available is not required at one work place at the same time. “It is movable, hence can be utilized at a new place of work,” he said.

He said: “One crore rupees were released recently for the procurement of safety equipment. More funds will be released soon so that more safety equipment including isolating devices could be bought. We are focusing on the overall improvement of the system during installation and adherence of SOP when work on ground is done,” Asad said.

As per official data, 400 casual labourers of the PDD have died of electrocution in J&K in the last 10 years. Officials say that on average 3 casual labourers die every month due to electrocution.