Manual scavenging horror near Chennai: 3 men die while cleaning septic tank; were given no safety gear

Around 10 a.m., Murugan entered the plant’s septic tank to clean it (representative picture). | Photo credit: iStock Images

Key highlights

  • Three men allegedly died of suffocation while cleaning a septic tank
  • The three men did not wear safety equipment

Chennai: Three men were killed by manual washing on Sunday in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu. The incident occurred on Sunday in Katrambakkam, near Sriperumbudur, when the three men were cleaning a septic tank.

The trio have been identified as Murugan, Bhagyaraj, and Arumugam. The three men worked in a catering company that supplied groceries to several factor and company workers in Irungattukottai.

Murugan entered the tank first

At around 10 a.m., Murugan went into the facility’s septic tank to clean up. When he stopped responding, Bhagyaraj and Arumugam got into the tank to rescue him. However, all three men died after inhaling toxic fumes.

Since the three men had not been seen for about 30 minutes, the employees of the catering office alerted the control room of the fire brigade and the emergency services as well as the police. Somangalam police and fire and rescue personnel went to the site and retrieved the bodies of the three men, The Times of India reported.

Three men did not wear safety equipment

The bodies of the three men were taken to Sriperumbuddur Government Hospital for autopsy. The workers reportedly did not wear safety equipment in this case. The police arrested two members of the catering service for further investigation. An investigation by the Revenue Divisional Officer has also been launched into the case.

Experts said septic tanks should stay open for about half an hour before people enter. Prime Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami asked for a detailed investigation into the case. He announced Rs 10 lakh solatium to the families of three victims.

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