Providing the update at a press conference in Monrovia, the Executive Director of the EPA, Professor Wilson K. Tarpeh, disclosed that in the early morning hours of Wednesday, 18 August 2021, the EPA received reports from its field services that an accident has occurred at Sethi Ferro Fabrik, a steel fabrication factory located in the Industrial Park, LPRC Community, Gardnersville, outside Monrovia.
He further disclosed that about 09:30 the EPA team of technicians arrived at the facility to investigate the cause of the accident and assess the impact to the nearby environment (community residents and ecosystems).
Following a thorough scientific investigation of the situation, he announced that the EPA can confirm the following preliminary findings:
1. The cause of the accident was the collapse of a conveyor cable’ carrying a magnetic bed containing metal scraps into an electric arc furnace holding molten steel. The magnetic bed fell into the furnace causing molten steel (at temperature of about 1500 oC) to splash in all directions resulting in various degrees of burns to seven (7) staff of the company.
2. At the time of the accident, none of the workers had on approved aluminized apparel for protection from heat. The victims (4 Liberians and 3 Indians) were immediately taken to the trauma unit of the J.F.K. Memorial Hospital. Details on the current conditions of the seven victims will be announced by health authorities.
Meanwhile, the EPA boss stated that the factory remains closed until the following remedial measures are instituted:
According to him, the factory should set-up a health safety and environment unit to enforce safety protocols and ensure that all workers at the factory participate in daily safety drills and are acquainted with the required safety protocols:
1. Molten metal workers should always wear aluminized apparel (heat hoods, jackets, aprons, pants, leggings, gloves etc.) to protect them from radiant heat as well as molten splash and other thermal hazards;
2. To minimize continuous exposure to heat and reduce the risk of accidents arising from staff fatigue, no molten metal worker should be made to work for more than six (6) consecutive hours.
“EPA will continue to institute measures aimed at mitigating impacts arising from industrial operations in Liberia. The Agency reassures the general public of its commitment to ensuring a clean, healthy and safe environment for this and future generation,” the EPA boss, among other things, added.