Muscat: Industrial activities in the Sultanate have been increasing for the past decade as Oman continues to grow and develop, which has unfortunately led to some accidents due to extensive efforts being made for growth in the industrial sector.
According the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA), there were 35 industrial fire accidents in 2015, compared with 36 and 34 in 2014 and 2013, respectively.
“The Sultanate of Oman witnessed during the last decade, fast industrial activity; as a result there are possibilities of accidents, with human and physical losses,” said PACDA.
Fourteen factories were set ablaze in 2015 followed by five carpentry workshops that caught fire, four furniture workshops and seven vehicle workshops in total. Aluminium and express service workshops registered two fire incidents each, while blacksmith workshops only registered one.
PACDA explained that that the causes for these fires are due to failure to follow requirements issued by PACDA, as well as unorganised storage of hazardous material in unsuitable environments, including usage of materials banned by official authorities.
“They do not follow periodical maintenance of alarm systems and have insufficient fire extinguishers in the building,” said PACDA.
“They also don’t ensure that the electrical connections inside the building are valid,” added PACDA.
The use of caravans instead of fixed buildings to house the labourers poses a high risk of catching fire, which is one of the main causes for fires in labour camps.
By storing permitted materials in proper conditions, using fixed structures to house labourers and maintaining fire alarms and fire extinguishers, as well as ensuring that a sufficient amount is available, are some of the ways to avoid fires in the future.
“Assigning a supervisor for safety and security and training the workers of establishments by conducting fire drills in establishments will help avoid fires,” said PACDA.
“Training workers and employees on first aid and how to deal with emergencies is also essential,” advised PACDA.