Indian Railway workers work with bare hands on 1500v live wire

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“It is a criminal offence to send someone in close proximity of live wires. The authorities did not even provide hand gloves or safety harness,” said a passerby, yesterday.

Employees of the Harbour line (Central Railway) over head equipment (OHE) maintenance team were seen climbing on the OHE poles near Mankhurd station, in Mumbai suburbs on Tuesday, compromising the  safety procedure during the maintenance of the over head equipment.

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At least three workers climbed on top of the OHE polls in between Mankhurd and Vashi stations in the morning peak hours. However, these workers had no safety harness or other safety belt around them for their protection.
It was a typical morning peak hour, as trains trundled past after every five minutes or so. These employees, sat perched just a few inches above the live wires, that were carrying 1500 volts which can char a person to death in a moment or two,  if the person comes into direct contact with the wires.

The intrepid workers held the pole tightly with one had and were painting or applying some kind of liquid on the poles of OHE. It was not clear whether these were regular staffers of the Central Railway or contract workers.

According to officials since the Railway Minister is from Mumbai and he is smart enough and can not be fooled easily, and also does not suffer fools easily, railway officials have been forced to pull up their socks. Gone is the lethargic attitude of  the officers, who will be promptly pulled up for any lapses on their part. They now have simply no excuses, and have to perform. But in meeting their deadlines, are they compromising safety procedures?

“It is criminal offence to send someone in close proximity of live wires” said a passerby who was walking along side rail track. “They did not provided hand gloves or safety harness, in case if they lose balance, what would happen,” he added.

Central Railway Public Relation Officials did not respond to  repeated phone calls or text message.

This article first appeared in Afternoon Dispatch & Courier on January 14, 2015.

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