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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Clearing the Air or Creating More Suspicion?

This story about a factory operating without a proper licence should be investigated further as it appears to be an official "whitewash".

Just consider the following details given in the news article:

*The factory started operations in February 2004
*It applied for a licence in September 2006
*The fire department replied in February 2007
*Council approved licence the next day in February 2007

I think the following questions should be answered:

*Why did the factory not apply for a licence in February 2004?
*Why did the fire department take 4 months to approve a relatively small factory?
*Did the factory encounter "difficulties" in getting the Bomba approval?
*Did the factory have other proper approvals as from the Machinery Department during the period from Feb 2004 to Feb 2007?

It seems that the council has also been lacksadaisical in enforcing its own rules by allowing a factory to operate without Bomba approval for five months. If a fire had broken out, workers would have been in greater danger without the water sprinkler system. A plastic moulding factory deals with highly flammable materials and a sprinkler system will not put out the fire though it will provide workers a few precious seconds to get out before the factory usually burns down.

It should have been a requirement for Bomba approval at the planning stage; ie before the factory was built or the manufacturing licence approved before the factory was allowed to commence full production.

The other aspect that will be useful for investors is that local councils should be given say one month to approve all licencing matters. The fixed time limit should apply to all departments. If there is no feed-back, the approval is deemed automatic.

If factory inspectors later find the building lacking in the necessary requirements they have the authority to issue specific orders and this can be used to improve the department that failed to do its job properly in the first place.

photo: Thanks to http://www.hazmatmag.com/common_scripts/xtq_images/155436-109313.jpg

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