Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) pump attendants will soon be licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of the broader procedures to inject professionalism into the sector to reduce accidents concomitant with gas usage.
The EPA has, therefore, rolled-out initial processes towards the licensing regime which requires that every LPG attendants must go through “Environmental Safety and Best Practices Training (ESBPT),” under the tutelage of the agency.
The ESBPT syllabus has been divided into phases for the next one year which involves theoretical classroom and practical field training leading to the award of the initial certificate of participation, after which the attendants would be monitored for adherence to best practices.
The Attendants would again go through another theoretical classroom and practical field training at the end of which he or she would be licensed to operate as a Certified Professional LPG Pump Attendants.
Mr John Alexis Pwamang, EPA Acting Executive Director explained that enrolling into the first phase, which is classified as the Transitional Period is voluntary, but after the period it would become mandatory for every attendant to acquire the Certified Professional LPG Pump Attendant license before employment.
He, therefore, appealed to LPG Owners and Dealers as well as Pump Attendants to enroll in the on-going EPA Environmental Safety and Best Practices Training, which seeks to raise awareness about the hazards of LPG and the preventive mechanism available.
Mr Pwamang noted that the training also targeted Owners, Dealers, and Station Supervisors to ensure that “we adhere to international best practices in our operations in the country”.
He said EPA was collaborating with other technical partners such as the Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana LPG Operators Association (GLiPGOA), Department of Factories Inspectorate, National Petroleum Authority among others.
Mr Pwamang explained that the certification emanated from the background that the series of gas explosions and gas-related fire outbreaks in the country, which had resulted in the loss of lives and property was attributed to lack of understanding and failure to observe simple safety protocols.
He said investigations into these incidents and accidents revealed a number of causes, the most critical and common one being that most of the workers along the supply chain do not have the requisite knowledge and skills required to work.
“It is as a result of these revelations that the regulatory institutions decided to organsise a training programme to Train and Certify all the operators to ensure that LPG risk is reduced to the minimal level in the country,” The EPA Executive Director stated.
The EPA Acting Executive Director, therefore, called on the LPG Marketing Companies and other stakeholders to enrol their attendants to participate in the training; “Dealers and Owners must also participate in the training as it will help you protect your investment through the best-administered practices”.
The current series is targeted at the pump attendants across the country. It will, therefore, be organised in all the 16 regions.
Togbe Adaku V, President of GLiPGOA commended the EPA for the effort to support and introduce professionalism in the operations of LPG sector; “We consider this as efforts to help us investors, owners, dealers and attendants to protect our lives, customers, investment, and others who patronise our products”.
He, therefore, appealed to LPG Operators to take advantage of the transitional period to train their attendants, “Get knowledge and understanding for dealing with LPG for knowledge is power, EPA is offering us the power to operate in a safe environment”.
Mr Andrew Owusu Baafi, LPG Safety Expert who was a resource person at the training explained that like all forms of energy, LP gas was potentially hazardous if mishandled or misused.
He, therefore, advised owners and dealers to take advantage of the expertise within the LP gas industry to ensure an informed and uniform approach to good safety practice.
Mr Baafi noted that controlling risks guarantee the health and safety of people and safeguards property and environment, “the danger is always present. Only the risk is reduced by behaviour.
“LPG is potentially hazardous from production until it has been used. So every uncontrolled release is a hazardous activity and should receive urgent attention. Thus, even the smallest gas leak can be detected and should receive appropriate and immediate attention”.
He said the hazards associated with LPG could occur during transportation, delivery or consumption of the gas and to manage the hazard attendants needed to understand everything.