Media persons are being tasked to be safety ambassadors extraordinaire for the National Petroleum Authority (NPA).
Speaking to a cross section of over 50 media persons drawn from across the Western Region in Takoradi , the Chief Executive Officer of the NPA , Hassan Tampuli revealed that the first quarter of this year has already recorded 15 cases of petroleum fires per the Ghana National Fire Service statistics , and as a response to the safety lapses in the petroleum industry , there is the need for a Petroleum Safety Campaign to stop accidents in the sector. He said the theme of the campaign is ” People Safety First” to be launched in Accra in August 2017.
The NPA Chief Executive pleaded with the media to lead the safety campaign on their various platforms and said it is normal for bad news to sell wondering why since January 2017 , petroleum pump prices have been relatively stable or been reducing yet not much of that is in the media as NPA often comes up in the media when there is an explosion.
He said the campaign will not be limited only to education as there will be intensive inspections and monitoring of safety benchmarks in all petroleum facilities in the country pleading with the media to be at the forefront by keeping owners of such facilities and officials of the NPA on their toes by highlighting any compromises on safety standards. He said sanctions will apply where need be as risk assessors will be on inspection rounds during the safety campaigns and any safety breach sighted , the owner of the facility will be given sometime to rectify it after which if he/she fails , the facility will be closed down.
He said it is all being done to ensure the integrity of the various stations as often the public complain of the citing of such stations in residential areas but said in most instances of recent explosions ,the integrity of the stations in question are compromised and said as part of the safety campaign to be launched in August 2017 , all petroleum pump attendants will have to be taken through basic Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) techniques and awarded certificates which will form part of the standard benchmark to renew the licenses of various stations saying’…if you don’t have pump attendants with certificates , your license will not be renewed …drivers and mates of LPG and petrol tankers will have to be also trained in basic HSE.”
The NPA chief Executive , Hassan Tampuli revealed further that chief executives of filling stations will be required to conspicuously fly safety standard banners at their various stations as well as advertise on various media outlets on the safety standards undertaken by their stations and also urged the media to urge the public to always ensure basic safety precautions when they patronise services at the various filling stations , “…often when some of us go to buy fuel we keep our engines on and make phone calls and when our attention is drawn to that we take offence threatening not to patronize the services of the particular station again ..”
He said road shows will be embarked upon to draw the public’s attention to the safety campaign .
He revealed during the question time that the NPA does not consider the political affiliation of owners of various stations in ensuring the safety standards and revealed that an audit will be undertaken where all filling/LPG stations whose licenses were issued after January 2016 will have to ensure they are not sited near recreational facilities and churches saying 2 filling stations must ensure they are 500metres apart and LPG stations must be 1000metres apart to meet basic safety standards else they will be closed down. He also promised that the NPA will work in concert with the Sekondi – Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly to ensure that commercial vehicles are prevented from using a major filling station in the centre of Takoradi known as the Edzii Filling Station ,as a bus-stop.
He revealed the the report of the GHUMCO fire that occurred in Takoradi some months ago resulting in 150 injured , is ready and will be released soon .
Also present were the head of public affairs of NPA , Yaro Kasambata and the Zonal manager of the Western and Central regions , Linda Asante.