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I write about exposure to contaminated, or otherwise unsafe, food, water, and air.
What should we say about employers who expose workers to poisonous gases, which lead to the death of the worker at the worksite? And I am not talking about slow poisoning. Death happens due to rapid poisoning or suffocation, usually within a couple of hours and sometimes within minutes of exposure.

This is the reality for sewer cleaners (Safaai Karmachaaris) almost everywhere in India. Thousands have died in the last few decades!

These workers get into drains with no protective gear whatsoever. They expose themselves to poisonous gases or suffocation. They also work in the most unhygienic conditions without protective clothing. Here is a news article in the Indian Express where the Supreme Court has expressed its displeasure –

It is not correct to talk about this practice under the law against caste discrimination, though that is applicable too. This is a regular criminal offence, just as it would be in a factory, where workers work in unsafe conditions, and either get wounded or die as a result. In such cases, employers or supervisors would be responsible and jailed. They will be charged with culpable homicide, criminal negligence, and under many other sections of the Indian Penal Code.

The contractors, and local government officials who supervise the contractors, must be arrested. They must be charged with attempt to murder. This must happen in all cases where manual scavengers / Safaai Karmachaaris enter drains without adequate protective gear (completely covered hazmat suits with gas masks). This would be the right way to deal with this.

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