Operators of fuel retail outlets in the Republic of Ghana have been tasked to aim at ensuring zero tolerance for accident by implementing safety guidelines developed by the downstream petroleum regulator, NPA.
A Chief Inspector of National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Esther Anku who made the call at the launching of the Association of Oil Marketing Companies 2021 Petroleum Safety Week in Accra, capital of Ghana, noted that there have been terrible accidents in the industry due to negligence and operators not following laid down procedures.
She said her outfit has observed with worry the increasing trend in accidents involving Bulk Road Vehicles (BRVs) on the road, tanker yards and other places.
According to her, records available to the NPA show that in 2020, 16 of such accidents occurred while nine has been recorded since the beginning of 2021 including two that occurred on the Accra-Tema motorway few days ago.
“Considering the hazardous nature of products these BRVs carry, these accidents could have devastating effects such as what was experienced about two weeks ago at Onyina Nofo in the Ashanti Region where a BRV accident claimed three lives and destroyed several properties including over 10 houses,” Mrs Esther Anku said.
To curb these accidents, she said the NPA, in collaboration with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and Road Safety Limited (RSL), has taken the necessary steps to comply with the section 53(1) of the Road Traffic Regulations 2012 LI 2180.
It states that ‘A person shall not drive a motor vehicle intended for the transportation of hazardous goods, unless that person (a) is trained and qualified to handle the motor vehicle and its contents and (b) is certified by the Licensing Authority to drive a motor vehicle that carries hazardous goods’.
Mrs. Anku noted that Road Safety Limited has been licensed by DVLA to carry out training for BRV drivers on general defensive driving, safe loading and unloading procedures, basic fire fighting and emergency response among others.
She said 617 drivers have been trained as at last week, adding that a new set of drivers have also commenced a three-day training.
She said in the future, only drivers who have been licensed by the DVLA to transport hazardous products will be permitted by the NPA to drive BRVs.
“These are measures to ensure that drivers of petroleum products are skilled and competent in the discharge of their duties to enhance safety in the industry and curb the high number of BRV road accidents in the country,” Mrs. Esther Anku said.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD), Senyo Hosi expressed worry about the inability of the country’s downstream regulator to ensure that the laws are applied against persons or institutions whose negligence causes accidents in the industry.
Citing the June 3, 2015, disaster at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Senyo Hosi said though GOIL has one of the most safety compliance outlets, the station’s outlet where the disaster happened was not safety compliant.
“When an accident happens, we don’t just want to see people who have acted criminally-criminal negligence is a matter of law. It is something that must be dealt with and pursued as an industry. We don’t do it…we must start letting people feel the pinch of non safety behaviour,’’ he stated.