Infrastructure for Treatment, Storage and Disposal of Hazardous Waste at Alang
It is widely criticized that recycling facilities do not have adequate procedures and infrastructure to collect and dispose of the hazardous waste recovered from the ships during the recycling process. However, it is critical to know and understand the infrastructure available at Alang.
Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) is the regional regulatory body supervising recycling activities in Alang, India. GMB constructed the landfill site and assigned Gujarat Enviro Protection Infrastructure Limited (GEPIL) as an operator for the Treatment, Storage, and Disposal of hazardous waste recovered from the vessels during the recycling process. The first facilities were constructed in 2005-2006. The facilities had the following cells and capacities.
When the capacity of the above landfill cells was about to complete, GMB expanded the earlier capacity in 2013 to new landfill cells of a total of 100,000 M3. The facility was further upgraded by installing a separate oily bilge water treatment plant that can treat bilge water recovered from the ships. The separated oil is stored in the designated tanks until enough is accumulated. To burn the oil, an incinerator plant was installed. A key point to note, the separated water is stored in the underground and overground tanks, which can be used as firefighting water for the incinerator. Excess water is used for trees planted on the site. With the addition of an incinerator and bilge water treatment plant, the GEPIL site became a fully integrated waste management facility.
The existing capacity of the GEPIL Treatment Storage Disposal Facility (TSDF) at Alang is as below:
It is evident that the recycling facilities have sufficient infrastructure to dispose of hazardous wastes. HKC compliant recycling facilities hand over the segregated waste only to GEPIL against the receipts. Waste disposal is appropriately documented. Since its inception, GEPIL has managed 65,000 MT of ship recycling waste.
The commitment shown by the local regulatory bodies and yards for sustainable ship recycling is commendable.
Training imparted to recycling facility workers by Gujarat Maritime Board
In the 16th issue of Demystifying Ship Recycling, we discussed free compulsory training imparted to the yard workers to upgrade their skills and awareness. However, the recycling yards have HSE Officers and Supervisors who monitor the yard workers' day-to-day activities. Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) has developed workshops and seminars to train the workers who perform managerial jobs and lead smaller teams.
a. Hazardous Materials Manager's Course:
The content of the course includes identification, extraction, and storage of hazardous material from the ships
b. Ship Recycling and Toxic Health Hazard:
In this course, the health hazards related to exposure to toxic materials are discussed.
c. Use of multi-gas detectors
The use of multi-gas detectors is crucial before making man-entry to the confined spaces and before commencing the hot work. The participants are trained for the correct application of the multi-gas detectors.
d. Advanced First Aid and Basic Life Support Safety in Plot
It is essential for workers to understand the first aid and the basics of life support to respond appropriately in an emergency onboard vessel and at the shipyard.
e. Environment and Safety Risk Assessment
Risk assessment is foremost and should be conducted before commencing any physical work onboard vessel. The associated risks with specific jobs should be identified and mitigated as per the Risk Matrix. The participants are trained to carry out not only safety risk assessment but also environmental risk assessment.
f. Operations of Crane and Winches
Ship recycling cannot be imagined without cranes and winches. In this training, participants are trained for the Cranes and Winches' proper operations and hazards associated with the crane and winch wires.
g. Work Stress Management
In this workshop, the participants are educated about managing the stress related to work. Due to a hectic day-to-day lifestyle, it is evident that someone gets stressed, and it's paramount to understand work stress management.
h. Handling of Asbestos
In this workshop, participants are explicitly trained to handle Asbestos. The workshop covers training for identification, extraction, segregation, and disposal of Asbestos.
i. Work Permit Systems
Shipyard workers have to perform different tasks like enclosed space entry, hot work, working at height, etc. Filling a permit before the beginning of the work is vital for communicating critical safety information. The workshop explains the significance of the work permits and how to fill them effectively.
j. Fire Safety Awareness onboard vessel and in the plot
Ship recycling is impossible without gas cutting. There is always a hazard associated with fire, and it is crucial to make participants aware of the fire safety onboard vessel and at the plot.
It is worth noting that periodic Refresher courses are conducted to ensure workers are up to date with evolving safety standards and safe working practices. In case of any incident, learnings from the incident training are undertaken to prevent such events in recycling facilities. The effectiveness of training is evaluated by written & oral exams and issuance of a certificate. GMB provides all trainings for free of cost keeping the workers' safety at the forefront. GMB is persistently imparting such training over the last two decades.
Compulsory training imparted to recycling facility workers by Gujarat Maritime Board (Part-1)
It is a widely known fact that whoever wants to work on a ship as a crew must undergo training as per their intended designated duties prior to joining a ship. The content of the training and required duration are governed by the STCW (Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping Rules). They are amended periodically to ensure the crew is well trained to work safely onboard a vessel.
Have we ever wondered what training is provided to the workers working at recycling facilities?
The Government of India has ratified the Hong Kong Convention in Nov 2019. The Directorate General of Shipping has been appointed as an apex body for overseeing the ship recycling activities in India. Gujarat Maritime Board is a regional body that controls the ship recycling process at Alang. GMB has prepared different free training programs for yard workers before they begin to work in the yards.
Gujarat Maritime Board training center
A. Free Compulsory Comprehensive Safety Training (Duration: 12 days):
Any qualified individual who wants to work at a recycling facility must undergo 12 days of free compulsory safety training. This training gives a comprehensive idea about the jobs done at recycling yards. The training includes the identification of hazards in gas cutting operations. It emphasizes the application of Personal Protective Equipment. The training highlights the hazards of working in a confined space, working at height, working in the engine room, the presence of a hazardous atmosphere, etc. Safety-related to metals and materials handling are discussed in the course. Fire and explosion hazards are discussed in-depth and fire fighting training is provided to every individual.
First aid training and emergency response drills are conducted during the training.
And most importantly, the workers are made familiar with the environmental hazards and housekeeping at yards.
B. Free Refresher Safety Training (Duration 03 days):
Refresher training is provided to the workers who had already undergone 12 days of compulsory training earlier and need to refresh their knowledge. In this program, the workers are made aware of new developments in ship recycling, and the topics covered in the 12 days program are also discussed. The accident case studies are also discussed with the workers to make them understand the root cause of the accident and how those accidents could have been prevented.
C. Free Gas Cutter Safety Training (Duration: 02 days):
This is specialized training provided only to the workers who would be working as a gas cutter.
The workers are informed about the gas cutting equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE) and their significance during gas cutting. Safe procedures and hazards during the gas cutting are discussed in depth. Workers are made aware of fire prevention and protection during the gas cutting operations. Comprehensive training is provided about the fire causes, fire fighting, and extinguishing.
The effectiveness of training is evaluated by the Indian Register of Shipping. Upon clearing verbal/written exams, certificates are issued to the workers. If a worker fails to clear the exam, he has to undergo training again.
It is worth noting that all these trainings are provided free of cost keeping the workers’ safety at the forefront. The efforts made by the GMB in improving training from 2003 are noteworthy.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) against COVID-19 at HKC Compliant recycling facilities
Amid the surge in COVID-19 cases in India, the HKC compliant recycling facilities are taking absolute precautions against the spread of COVID-19. The recycling facilities and the local regulatory authorities have developed standard operating procedures to curb the spread.
The entry and exit points in each yard are sanitized regularly. The recycling facilities are sanitized every morning before commencing activities and after completing activities in the evening. At entry and exit points, hand wash facilities along with soap are arranged. Washing of hands before entering the recycling yard is imperative. The safety officer and HSE team monitor every worker's body temperature and ensure that workers use proper PPE & masks. In work locations, social distancing is assured with strict compliance.
During the regular breaks as well, social distancing is strictly followed. Workers are provided with masks, gloves, and adequate PPE. Safety officers supervise the social distancing norms. The number of workers present in the yard at any given time is restricted to ensure adequate social distancing. If a worker is observed with any of the COVID-19 symptoms, he is transferred to the quarantine facility allotted by Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB).
The medical attention is provided by the Alang multi-specialty hospital. Primary Health Centre (PHC) arranges regular COVID-19 tests for the yard workers to identify any asymptomatic patient.
Similar SOPs are developed for the crews who deliver the vessels to the recycling facilities. The COVID-19 test is done for the crews onboard the vessel at anchorage. Once all the crews are tested negative, they are allowed to disembark. A crew member with symptoms is given prompt medication and treated as per the COVID-19 guidelines onshore. Crews are provided with masks and disposable protective clothing. Once the crew disembarks from the vessel, they are immediately transported to the accommodation, and they are not allowed to visit other than designated areas in the recycling facilities. A trained person sanitizes vessels' access points and common areas before yard workers or regulatory authority representatives board the vessel.
Strict adherence to the above SOPs helps curb the spread of COVID-19 and ensures continuity in the ship recycling process without any loss of time.
Drills at HKC Compliant recycling facilities – Part 2
In Drills at HKC compliant recycling facilities - Part 1, we discussed the drills, including fire and explosion on the plot & ship, confined space rescue, and evacuation from ship and Plot. In addition to those drills, few more drills are conducted at recycling facilities:
Falling from Height:
When the ship is recycled, she is sitting on the ground. The ship's structures are quite high from the ground. During the recycling, process workers need to board the vessel regularly. Although workers use PPE and the NO GO areas are marked & barricaded on the vessels, there is a hazard of falling from the height. Therefore, yard workers need to understand the actions which should be taken if a person falls from a height. Falling from height drill is conducted by simulating the fall of a human dummy. Workers are trained to rescue the person who fell down and give him first aid and medical attention.
Medical Emergency on Plot and Ship:
At any ship recycling yard, around 80 to 100 workers are present on a typical working day. It is important for workers to understand how to react if any of their colleagues face medical emergencies such as heart attack, fainting, etc. In this drill, workers are explained about the significance of first aid and the use of medical equipment.
Oil spillage on Sea Water and Plot:
When a vessel is delivered to the recycling facilities, it usually contains small quantities of fuel oil, lube oil, bilge water, and oily sludge. These oils are transferred from the vessel to the oil collection tanks using oil transfer pumps with the help of flexible hoses. Transfer of oil possesses the risk of oil spill either on sea water or on the Plot. Yard workers must understand how to respond in case of oil spillage as it is a major environmental hazard. Recycling facilities have oil spill kits to contain and collect the spilled oil. The kit has all the necessary material to clean the oil, such as oil absorbent pads, booms, shovels, drums, etc.
Monsoon and Storm:
More than 90 % of ship recycling is done at southeast Asian facilities. India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan face the monsoon season from June to September every year. During monsoon, it is obvious to face heavy rainfalls, rough seas, and occasional storms. Therefore, it is significant for yard owners and workers to understand the actions to be taken during the monsoon.
Every week emergency sirens are function tested to ensure the workers' awareness of different patterns of the emergencies. All drills are recorded, and post drill debriefings are done and discussed in the toolbox meetings. Drills are recorded until expected performance is achieved.
HKC compliant recycling facilities strictly comply with the annual schedule of various drills to ensure safety at yards.
Established in 1992 in historic Cumberland, MD. (U.S.A), GMS is the world's LARGEST and FIRST ISO 9001 certified Cash Buyer of ships for recycling. With exclusive representatives in all of the major ship recycling markets in the world, GMS has negotiated about 3,500 ships for recycling since inception. In addition to its original office in the United States of America, the company continues to expand its operations with offices in Hamburg (Germany), Athens (Greece), Dubai (UAE), India (Bhavnagar), Singapore, Seoul (Korea), Shanghai (China) and Tokyo (Japan).
P.O. Box 346041, Suite 101,
Saba 1 Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai, UAE