Almost all the explosions that have occurred at gas filling stations in the country were as a result of wrongful offloading of gas, an investigation by the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has revealed.
Consequently, the service has directed that the offloading of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) should be done in the presence of GNFS personnel to ensure safety.
The Deputy Public Relations Officer of the GNFS, Mr Prince Billy Anaglate, who disclosed this in an interview, said before gas was offloaded, there were a number of safety measures that needed to be followed.
He noted that the directive to have a fire engine around before LPG was offloaded was one of many measures to bring sanity to LPG stations to prevent the recurrence of explosions.
He said in areas where there was no fire engine, fire officers present at the time of offloading would be expected to be on the alert with fire-fighting equipment.
Mr Anaglate explained that the directive was not new to the industry, adding: “Years ago, before any gas filling station could offload gas, it had to inform the Fire Service that it was going to offload gas.”
He said that enabled the GNFS to give the station a fire cover, “but, unfortunately, for some time dealers are no longer adhering to that regulation”.
He added that all attendants at gas filling stations, including tanker drivers, were required to be trained by the GNFS, after which they would be presented with certificates.
He expressed confidence that with the award of certificates, it would be easy to monitor and ensure that only trained people were engaged as gas station attendants.
On safety measures, Mr Anaglate said it was unlawful for gas filling stations to offload gas after 6 p.m.
“Also, before offloading, you allow the content to cool because it is in a vehicle. It needs to get settled before you begin to offload. You will also need to go round the vicinity to make sure that there is no heat source.
“And before you start offloading, you must make sure that you switch off all electrical gadgets, including vehicle engines, within the station.
“You must as well ensure that all mobile phones are switched off and that metal objects are not dragged or dropped on the ground. These are all safety measures that need to be observed,” Mr Anaglate indicated.
He also advised drivers to always switch off their engines when they got to gas or fuel stations.
Mr Anaglate said as part of the safety measures, it was unsafe to carry at business activities close to gas filling stations.
He said it was the responsibility of the assemblies to ensure that gas filling stations were cleared of human activities.
“The assemblies are to ensure that people are moved away from the stations,” he emphasised.