Over the years, the country has experienced a number of accidents that claimed lives and property with the majority of them happening in the capital, Accra. Notably among the accidents include; the June 3, 2015 floods and fuel station explosion in which, over 150 lives were snuffed out in the most horrifying circumstances.
Another accident was the Trade Fair Gas explosion in December 2016, which claimed about six lives with many other injuries, and finally, the October 7, 2017, Atomic junction Gas explosion that resulted in seven deaths and about 192 injuries.
This series of accidents over the period has prompted all stakeholders to prioritize the safety of consumers and players as the main agenda for all in the petroleum downstream industry.
ASWEC, which is the AOMC Safety Week celebration, was institutionalized in 2017 with the cardinal objective of educating its members and the public; on Health, Safety, and the Environment.
This Annual celebration largely has been a huge success in the industry for its role as a conscious reminder to stakeholders to prioritize safety in the industry.
As part of efforts to maintain an accident-free industry this year, the AOMC on Monday, May 23rd, 2022) celebrated its Annual Safety Week Celebration (ASWEC 2022), at GIMPA in Accra with a clarion call for members and industry players to prioritize safety at all times.
The theme for this year’s celebration was “Petroleum Accident Brings Tears, Safety Brings Cheers”. Industry stakeholders and various regulators were invited to educate members on safety measures and how we could avert the recurrence of explosion.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Industry Co0rdinator, and CEO of the AOMC, Mr. Kweku Agyemang-Duah explained that the industry is often characterized by incidents and accidents hence the need to observe all the necessary safety protocols.
He stressed that prevention is better than cure and there was, therefore, the need to take proactive measures to avert any unforeseen eventualities.
Mr. Agyemang-Duah also indicated that improving the safety of workers and customers can be financially rewarding, adding that it is the reason the AOMC has been consistent with the Celebration.
“Adopting safety measures is beyond reflectors and boots. Safety is our state of mind to do things right”, the Industry Co- Ordinator emphasized’’.
Mr. Brent Nartey on behalf of the AOMC Chairman Industry News │AOMC Newsletter commended the secretariat for their good effort in consistently organizing the event and acknowledged the members of the AOMC Board for their relentless zeal and commitment to prioritizing the Safety Week Celebrations on an annual basis.
Mr. Nartey urged all members to continue to be vigilant in keeping good HSSE performances and strive towards zero accidents at their workplaces. “As members of the Oil Marketing Companies Association, we will continue to ensure that every worker and customer at our retail outlets return home safely every day”, He stressed.
He urged all members to continue to be vigilant in upholding best safety practices and standards in our operations and continue to maintain an accident-free working environment.
The Deputy Minister for Energy Mr. William Owireku Aidoo commended the AOMC for organising the week-long safety event in his address at the celebration.
He however cautioned the AOMC to ensure the success of the annual celebration is not stained by accidents.
According to him, the trade fair, circle, and atomic junction accidents were all moments of sorrow that could have been avoided if safety protocols were followed.
Mr. Aidoo noted that Petroleum products have been used to keep this country’s engine running especially in the transportation of perishable goods, adding that it signifies how important the Petroleum downstream sector is.
He also revealed that the Ministry has collaborated with AOMC to develop a health, safety, and environment manual for members that emphasize safety at LPG and Pumps. He revealed that, the downstream regulator is mandated to present a quarterly report to the Ministry and indicate which intervention is required for the industry.
Following, the Rector of GIMPA, Professor Samuel Kwaku Bonsu who was the Chairman for the occasion revealed that GIMPA remains an innovative institution and will continue to support the AOMC with its innovations.
Prof. Bonsu highlighted the need for safety to be taken seriously at the pumps adding that “we have safety programs so we invite you to come for collaboration.”
The Principal Factories Inspector, Mr. Emmanuel Fatoye Sawyerr on behalf of the Department of Factories Inspectorate recommended the use of the approved engineer surveyors to regularly examine and certify all bulk tanks, (whether underground or above ground) to ensure their safety and protect all owners, workers, and visitors at petroleum vending sites across the country.
“Station managers must also be aware of activities around their premises. Restaurants, kitchens, kebab grilling joints, and other establishments that use open flames must especially be of concern to them due to the volatile nature of petroleum products’’.
“Personal protective equipment (e.g., safety shoes, overalls, etc.) must be provided for all staff, whether they are casual or formal. All station workers, especially station managers must be trained in safe work procedures and hazard identification.” Mr. Emmanuel Fatoye Sawyerr accentuated.
He further recommended that the Association and all industry stakeholder partners with the Department of Factories Inspectorate to develop safety regulations for the industry.
The Ghana National fire service (GFNS) at the event expressed its close partnership with the petroleum industry and its decision to ensure robust safety collaborations in protecting investments, especially in the petroleum industry in Ghana.
The Fire Officer reiterated, “It is worrying when we hear the news about occupational disasters involving the petroleum industry in which explosions claim lives and destroy properties/investments.
Day 1 of the week Celebration ended with a fire training session where members were taken through preventive and proactive ways of avoiding and dousing a fire.