In a bid to forestall the frequent gas explosion, the Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company Limited (GCMC) has organised a day’s workshop for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) station pump attendants in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
The programme, which attracted over 70 participants drawn from the Eastern and Volta regions, was in collaboration with the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), the Council for Technical and Vocational Education (COTVET) and other stakeholders.
Topics treated included fire safety, how to handle cylinders, how to determine sources of LPG leakages, among others.
Addressing the participants, an official of the GCMC, Mr Ezekiel Mensah, said the main purpose of establishing the company was to promote wider usage of LPG as a substitute for charcoal and firewood and thereby curtail some of the environmental challenges such as deforestation and desertification.
He said the training had, therefore, become necessary in view of the number of gas explosions the country had witnessed over the years with the recent ones in Takoradi and Tamale injuring many people and claiming one life.
“Our company through research has identified one of the major causes of gas accidents to be lack of public education in the use of LPG. Subsequently, our company over the years has used the media, notably the television and radio to educate consumers on the safe use of LPG and the handling of LPG cylinders in particular to avoid fire outbreaks,” he added.
Mr Mensah said the nation’s strategy was to make LPG accessible to at least 50 per cent of Ghanaian households by the year 2020, saying under the Rural LPG Promotion Programme which began two years ago to distribute LPG cylinders to some districts, over 50,000 pieces of LPG cylinders, stoves and accessories had been distributed in rural communities in more than 40 districts.
According to him, it was therefore due to this strategy to promote the wider usage of LPG and the perceived associated dangers in the use, that “compelled our company to apply for a grant from COTVET – SDF) to help train LPG filling station attendants whom we have identified could be good partners in our educational drive. The target is to train about 800 attendants in Greater Accra, Central, Eastern and the Volta regions”.
“We are confident that upgrading the skills of gas filling station attendants will help in identifying faulty cylinders and possibly refer them to GCMC for refurbishment which will prevent needless explosions or gas fires. It will also equip the attendants with the skills and knowledge required to educate the consumers on safety issues they usually come into direct contact with.”
“We strongly believe that adoption of appropriate safety measures by filling station attendants and advising consumers on safe handling of cylinders will go a long way to reduce accidents and explosion,” Mr Mensah said.
The Sales and Marketing Manager of GCMC, Mr Clement Depaul, said the company was working hard to support the government to promote the use of LPG by Ghanaians.
He said the company was willing to collaborate with women groups and individuals to explore the LPG cylinder industry.
For his part, the Public Relations Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service, Mr Billy Anaglate, expressed the hope that the training had given the participants the required basic skills in fire management.