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Gov’t outlines measures to end Gas explosions

The horrific gas explosion at the Atomic junction which led the death of 7 people and injured 132 people has seen some quick reaction from Government. The President, Nana Akufo Addo has ordered the immediate closure of high risk LPG stations in the country.

The president has also ordered the Immediate cessation, until further notice, of all construction of facilities intended for use as gas or petroleum retail stations.

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has shut down 21 liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stations across the country, following the orders of the president after a cabinet meeting held at the Flag Staff House.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of NPA, Mr. Alhassan Tampuli,” the exercise is affecting only fuel and LPG stations who have violated the standard of safety according to the regulations of the NPA.” He added that the exercise is not going to be but for a moment, it will be a continuous one.

There has been eight explosions in three years living hundreds dead, many others homeless and thousands of properties destroyed, yet no effective measures are laid down by duty bearers to end this unfortunate incident.

In response to these unfortunate happenings, government recently came out with nine measures to give safety to the citizens, which include;

Immediate inspection of all gas stations and the vigorous enforcement of existing regulations by the National Petroleum Authority. Other Immediate cessation, until further notice, of all construction of facilities intended for use as gas or petroleum retail stations.

measures put in place include a review of the current licensing regime to ensure that only those with demonstrable capacity and competence engage in the LPG distribution business. The NPA has also called for the training and certification of the staff of Regulators, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and LPG Marketing Companies to ensure the safe handling of LPG;

Other measures include the review the safety protocols along the entire value chain through the combined efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), National Fire Service (NFS), Town and Country Planning Department of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and the Factories Inspectorate Department of the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations;

Inspection regulations are also being enforced through the deployment of a task force, within 30 days, to assess the risk that our current LPG infrastructure poses in terms of public health and safety. High-risk stations will be immediately closed down, in accordance with relevant law and without regard to any political or special interests. Low-risk stations will be designated for the supply of gas for vehicles with improved safety standards.

The immediate incorporation of standards and guidelines developed by Ghana Standards Authority on the handling, storage and distribution of LPG and other petroleum products as technical regulations to strengthen the enforcement regime.

The recruitment by NPA of 200 safety auditors to join the staff of the Factories Inspectorate Department of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations to check regularly on all stations to ensure full compliance with safety standards and practices has also been put in place.

Expedition of action by the Fire Service and the Police Service of on-going investigations. Any operator or regulatory official, against whom any act of criminal negligence is established, will face the full rigors of the law.

 

 

By: Diana Nartey

 

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