The National Petroleum Authority(NPA) says it has closed down some 21 LPG filling stations across the country for failing to meet safety standards.
The move by the regulatory body on gas and fuel stations is dovetailed into Cabinet’s directives in the same respect to clamp down on LPG stations operating without maximum safety standards.
This comes after the terrible gas explosion last weekend at Atomic Junction in Accra, which led to the loss of seven lives, and 132 others sustaining various degrees of burns.
According to the NPA, the action was necessary following an inspection tour of the facilities this week.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NPA, Hassan Tampuli said on Friday: “Yesterday our inspection and monitoring team closed down 21 stations across the country, now that is just the number of stations that they monitored and today they will continue and hopefully continue next week.”
Also at a Cabinet meeting on 12th October 2017, the President of the Republic, on the advice of Cabinet, directed that henceforth the Cylinder Recirculation Model of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) distribution be implemented.
This model means that LPG Bottling Plants will be sited away from congested commercial and population centers and will procure, brand, maintain and fill empty cylinders to be distributed to consumers and households through retail outlets. Low risk stations will be designated for the supply of gas to vehicles.
“The importance of gas, and its use in our national economy, requires that we must develop and enforce regulations and practices, and deploy technology to ensure the safe use of gas and safety of our citizens, a statement from government, and signed by the Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid said Thursday.
In the interim, the President has directed that the following steps be taken to ensure the safety of citizens against such facilities nationwide.
- 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.