Gas leak hospitalises 47 workers, Ja-ela factory closed for now

Some of the hospitalised employees. Picture by Kusum Hennadi.

Around 47 employees of a factory in Ja-ela were hospitalised following a gas leak, which had taken place on Monday around 11.30 pm. They were admitted to the Ja-ela, Ragama and Gampaha hospitals.

It was reported that the employees of the factory located in Ekala, Ja-Ela were hospitalised on Monday due to the gas leak which has been occurring since Monday. According to hospital sources, 12 women were among those hospitalised.

Meanwhile another batch of employees were reportedly admitted to hospital yesterday morning.

Police had been alerted to the incident through a call on the emergency 119 hotline. Police Media Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara said the gas leak had occurred through a pipeline that combines a certain gas to operate the machines.

The workers who had inhaled this gas had taken ill and were taken to the hospital. It was reported that there were around 1,200 workers in the factory premises at the time of the gas leak.

The police said that after the initial gas leak on Monday the authorities of the garment manufacturing company had been told by the police to close the factory until the gas leak was repaired.The authorities had paid no heed to the warnings and recommenced work again last morning.

The gas leak had re-occurred around 10 am last morning, affecting around 52 workers who were at work within the factory. They were admitted to the Gampaha and Ragama hospitals for treatment.

The Ja-Ela Police had taken measures to obtain a Court Order to temporarily close down the factory until the relevant authorities conduct further tests to ensure that it was safe to reopen.

The Negombo Magistrate issued an order closing down the factory until March 22.Police are expected to take action against the factory owners for negligence. 

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