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‘Petroleum marketers safety conference to boost oil industry’s performance’

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The Lagos State Petroleum Marketers Safety Conference, holding today, presents an all-inclusive platform for stakeholders in the downstream sector to synergise with the regulators, government agencies, and public institutions to drive effective safety management practices in the industry. In this interview with Tayo Oredola, James Ashokeli, the chief organiser of the conference, highlights the major aim and possible effect of the conference. Excerpts:

How does the conference seek to address safety issues in the downstream sector?

The topics for consideration have been tailored to address competency/knowledge gap of personnel directly involved in the handling of refined petroleum products.

The LSPMSC seeks to inspire a paradigm shift in safety management practices from the viewpoint of self-regulation.

Self-regulation would encourage stakeholders to see safety not just as a mere catch phrase but a way of life.

This approach, when adopted in all operations within the downstream sector would encourage compliance in line with global safety trends and also complement the effort of regulatory bodies saddled with the supervision of safety and environmental matters.

What is your assessment of safety in the industry. Are we in compliance with global safety trends?

While we recognize the efforts made by some key players in the downstream sector to ensure their compliance in line with set standards, the majority of petroleum product distributors and marketers are underperforming with respect to set safety standards.

What are the safety challenges of marketers in the state and at large in the country?

Most of the petrol tanker drivers lack awareness on the hazardous nature of products they handle.

They lack the requisite training and more worrisome is the popular trend of alcohol /illicit drug intake.

Haulage operators and marketers, as a matter of urgency, need to invest in safety management to enhance driver competence in handling petroleum products.

The deplorable condition of some roads in the country has made the safe haulage of petroleum products an arduous task.

Majority of petrol tanker trucks are not roadworthy, lack basic safety features and do not undergo routine maintenance.

Furthermore, most tanker drivers are not certified to drive trucks.

Has the number of casualties arising from incidents in this sector informed the theme of the conference?

Yes it has. The recent spate of incidents in Lagos state and some other parts of the country which have resulted in unquantifiable losses emphasize the need for a more robust sensitization on safety management practices amongst key stakeholders.

The theme of this conference; Enhancing Productivity in Handling Petroleum Products: The Imperative of Safety could not be more apt as it aims to reinforce the idea that safe work practices pay off economically.

The conference is presented in a learning mix of lecture style presentations and select panel discussions to provide participants with a rich learning experience that would propel the drive towards voluntary safety compliance.


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