The Centre on Sunday issued guidelines for restarting manufacturing industries after the nationwide lockdown, saying the first week should be considered as “test or trial run”, ANI reported. The lockdown, imposed first on March 25 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, was to end on May 3. However, it will now end on May 17 after another extension.

The National Disaster Management Authority listed a set of precautions to be observed while starting the manufacturing units. “Due to several weeks of lockdown and the closure of industrial units during the lockdown period, it is possible that some of the operators might not have followed the established standard operating procedure,” the home ministry said in a letter to states. “As a result, some of the manufacturing facilities, pipelines, valves, etc. may have residual chemicals, which may pose risk. The same is true for the storage facilities with hazardous chemicals and flammable materials.”

The new guidelines came three days after 11 people died and thousands were exposed to the leak of styrene gas in a chemical plant in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam city. The gas leak occurred at the LG Polymers plant while workers were preparing to resume operations.

In the latest guidelines, the government has urged industries to take precautions for the safety of the workers. “Ensure all safety protocols; and not try to achieve high production targets,” the NDMA said.

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The order also said that states should be prepared to implement a disaster management plan for major accidental hazard units. “To minimise the risk, it is important that employees who work on specific equipment are sensitised and made aware of the need to identify abnormalities like strange sounds or smell, exposed wires, vibrations, leaks, smoke, abnormal wobbling, irregular grinding or other potentially hazardous signs which indicate the need for an immediate maintenance or if required shutdown,” it added.

The disaster management authority also directed factories to maintain a sanitisation routine every two to three hours, especially in common areas. “For accommodation, sanitisation needs to be performed regularly to ensure worker safety and reduce spread of contamination,” the guidelines said.