A Cabinet meeting on Thursday saw the introduction of nine safety measures to ensure sanity within the fuel distribution chain nationwide, and ostensibly to curb explosions.
These safety measures are aside President Nana Akufo-Addo ordering the implementation of the Cylinder Re-circulation Model of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) distribution.Key are among these measures is the impending closure of high-risk fuel stations across the country within 30-days, and the halting of the construction of new petrol/diesel and LPG filling points nationwide.
These measures, announced in a statement from government, are in direct response to the explosion at an LPG filling station at Atomic Junction, that has so far claimed at least seven lives and injured over 100 persons.
In the wake of that disaster, President Akufo-Addo has directed the following:
- immediate inspection of all gas stations and the vigorous enforcement of existing regulations by the National Petroleum Authority;
- review of the current licensing regime to ensure that only those with demonstrable capacity and competence engage in the LPG distribution business;
- institution of mandatory training and certification of the staff of Regulators, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and LPG Marketing Companies to ensure the safe handling of LPG;
- 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 Labour Relations;
- 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;
- 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;
- immediate cessation, until further notice, of all construction of facilities intended for use as gas or petroleum retail stations.
“The safety of citizens is the paramount objective of Government, and the President will take all necessary steps to ensure that citizens are safe,” the statement concluded.