Srinagar: The Power Development Department of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday took some long-awaited and much-welcome steps to protect the lives of its employees, many of whom die or are grievously injured in the line of duty. The accidents occur mostly when the line staff are fixing transmission lines on poles, especially during the winter.
Principal Secretary, Power Development Department, Rohit Kansal has directed the department to ensure earthing rods at 11 KV feeder level. This would make the field workers safe from accidental touching of live lines and accidental charging of lines or equipment during shutdown activity.
Kansal has also directed for providing protective kits to the field workers, which include helmets, insulating gloves, safety harness belt, and safety shoes to prevent foot injury and to provide electrical shock resistance.
A system has also been asked to be set up for the operation of standard operating procedures (SoPs). Mock safety drill of SoPs by the field staff under the proper supervision of safety officers would be made a regular feature in all the field offices of the department, Kansal has directed.
Scores of employees of the department have died so far, among them many daily wagers working on contractual basis. Besides the loss of lives, daily wagers face financial burden as they don’t qualify for the compensatory allowances prescribed in law for permanent employees.
“It is a welcome step. The government must also think about giving us something which can lessen the financial burden on our families post an accident,” said Ghulam Muhammad, a daily wager working for the department.
About Rs 5 crore has been earmarked for the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be used by the field staff.