The Minister of Petroleum, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, has urged filling station managers to constantly provide training for filling station attendants. This, he says, will enable them to upgrade their skills and expertise on safety standards in order to forestall any disaster.
He also asked the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to go beyond periodic inspections of safety standards and ensure that filling stations do not compromise on safety standards on daily basis.
The minister said this when he visited some filling stations in Accra to ensure that their operations met the required standards set by the NPA.
He was accompanied on the tour by officials of the NPA including the Chief Executive, Moses Asaga and the Chief Inspector of the Authority, Esther Anku.
The stations they visited were the Total Filling Station opposite the La Palm Hotel at La, and the Goil Filling Station at the 37 Military Hospital.
The visit came in the wake of the explosion in the midst of the flood at the Goil Filling Station at Circle on June 3 which led to the death of over 100 people and injuries to others who had sought shelter at the filling station, as well as damage to properties wealth million of cedis.
Though the cause of the explosion is yet to be established, it is believed that safety standards may have been compromised, resulting in the inferno in the midst o f the heavy rain pour.
Mrs Anku briefed the minister at the filling stations on the safety standards inspection check list which is used by the NPA to score the filling station on general information about the filling station, underground storage tanks, and regulatory requirements such as Environmental Protection Agency Permit, NPA Licensing Permit
and Ghana Standards Authority Permit.
Other requirement on the check lists are technical requirements such as distance of the outlet from medium and high voltage lines, conditions of dispensing nozzles, infrastructure requirements, waste management storage and disposal, pollution prevention and control, occupational health and safety and other housekeeping duties.
Even though the fillings stations visited appeared to have met the requirement, Mr Buah stressed on the need to go beyond the regular by ensuring that on daily basis they complied with the standards and not only during official visits.
Mr Buah said the ministry together with the NPA were “taking a second look” at the safety regime for filling stations to ensure that “we identify lapses in the current regime so that we tighten the loose ends so that we do not compromise on safety.”
He said the ministry was working with other agencies and stakeholders to adopt a “coordinated approach” in addressing safety standards at filling stations to avoid any further disasters.
Mr Buah advised the workers at the filling station to strictly adhere to the safety standards adding “you need to have on daily basis all the things you need in your operations so that we do things right there should be no excuses.”
Mr Asaga assured that the NPA had a “robust safety standards” as a regulatory authority and would not compromise in its monitoring role to ensure that the filling stations adhere to the standards.