The Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) has set up an adhoc committee to review safety standards at all Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Petrol refilling stations in the metropolis.
Drawn from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Engineers and Town Planning officers of the TMA and the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), members of the committee are to review operational activities and safety measures at the facilities.
The committee is also expected to develop a training model for operators and attendants of all petroleum outlets within the metropolis and further implement a roadmap for the training and retraining of attendants and operators of vending stations.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE)for Tema, Mr Felix Annang-La, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that, a petition was filed by pupils and teachers of the Santa Barbra School in Tema on the operations of an LPG refilling station near the school as well as the construction of a new petrol refilling station adjacent the school at Community Five, a suburb of Tema.
The petitioners demanded an immediate closure of the facilities until all necessary risk assessments were conducted.
While the LPG station is about 150 meters away from the school’s fence wall, a new refilling station belonging to Puma Energy, which is under construction, is about 100 meters from the entrance of the school, a situation the headmistress of the school, Ms Barbrara Afful-Asamoah, said could spell doom in the event of an explosion.
Ms Afful-Asamoah said that although the school had previously petitioned the EPA about the siting of the LPG station a decade ago, the school never got any response from the regulatory agency.
She said that the operations of the LPG facility were such that parents, pupils and teachers had become apprehensive over the construction of the Puma refiling station as well, considering the recent explosion of an LPG vending station at Atomic in Accra which claimed seven lives.
We were pleasantly surprised to have seen brisk work progressing on the Puma station after they were initially barred from continuing the construction works by the city authorities, Ms Afful-Asamoah said.
She claimed that the activities of the LPG station were such that each time they were discharging products, the school often had to evacuate the pupils whose classrooms were closer to the fence wall that separate the school from the facility.
The MCE, Mr Annang-La, indicated that feasibility studies conducted by the assembly and other technical officers from the GNFS and the EPA revealed that the LPG station in contention had some safety lapses.
He said an initial assessment revealed that, some structures in the various communities within the metropolis where LPG and petrol refilling stations were located had been situated on fire hydrants, and this could spell doom for the metropolis in the event of disaster, the MCE said.