Executive-Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Henry Kwabena Kokofu, has affirmed the commitment of the Agency to deepen training programmes for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) station managers, operators, and stakeholders in the country.
The rationale, he said, was to equip the stakeholders with knowledge on the emerging issues and best practices in the industry.
“Going forward, the Agency has decided that renewal of Environmental Permits would be tied to the training of workers. Henceforth, any company that intends to engage new workers must register them to undergo this basic training before assumption of office,” Mr. Kokofu noted.
The Executive-Director, who was addressing the opening ceremony of a three-day training workshop in Kumasi, designed by the EPA for managers, operators, pump attendants, and supervisors of LPG stations in the Ashanti Region, said conforming to best practices was the way to go.
According to EPA, about 96 persons died while 486 sustained various degrees of injury in 19 reported cases involving LPG refilling plants related accidents between 2007 and 2015.
In the past four years alone, the country has also witnessed various catastrophic incidents relating to LPG refilling plant accidents.
Mr. Kokofu revealed that investigative reports of disasters relating to LPGs showed that most of the operators along the value chain supply had not received formal training on the safe handling of LPG.
He therefore emphasized the need for participants at the workshop to be actively involved in the technical sessions, which would equip them with the basic knowledge and skills needed for efficient operations.
The training, amongst others, is part of efforts to make stakeholders more efficient in responding to the regulatory requirements of the Agency.
It is also to equip participants with best practices in the industry, introduce professionalism, and strengthening knowledge on the safe handling of petroleum products and how to best manage their facilities.
Acting Director in-charge of Field Operations at EPA, Mr. William Kwaku Hayfron-Acquah, asked LPG station managers and operators to be law-abiding.
He tasked them to adhere to environmental, health, safety, and security guidelines pertaining to their operations.
This, according to the acting Director, Field Operations, was critical to preventing pollution of the environment and related disasters emanating from non-compliance to the EPA’s rules and regulations.
Mr. Hayfron-Acquah, said it was necessary to protect the environment, customers and public in general, because the products sold by LPG stations were highly hazardous and flammable.
Touching on the management of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emissions, he drew the attention of operators to the need for them to install and use special fittings (Camlock) at ends of hoses and manholes in order to prevent spillage and vapour leakage.
They should also ensure that the design of the forecourt facilitates high circulation of air and prevents concentrations of VOCs.
Additionally, it is their duty and responsibility to provide and maintain observation of storage bunkers and ensure they were fit for their purpose.
They should also avoid parking vehicles on the tank farm and also ensure that tanks were buried in concrete bunkers.