Executive Secretary of the Bureau of Public Safety, Nana Yaw Akwada, has revealed that his outfit is not privy to the findings that led to the recommendations on the Appiate explosion, making it difficult to ascertain whether a thorough job was undertaken.
According to him, it is a laudable initiative that parliament is going into some of these issues to hold people accountable to the public. Mr Akwada explained that the most important thing is for government to “find a way for these directives to find their way into the LI 2177”. He further suggested that the minerals commission can ensure the recommendations are enforced in the court provided it has a way of issuing safety recommendation.
“It is difficult to say whether we have done a thorough job or not because we are not privy to the kind of findings that led to these recommendations. We are not privy to the scope or the issues of things that the investigating committee looked at. So, we want to reserve that ultimate judgement of the directives until such a time that we get the full benefit of both reports”.Nana Yaw Akwada
His comments followed the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor’s announcement on the new safety measures for carting explosives, today, March 3, 2022.
Commenting on Mr Jinapor’s submission, Mr Akwada indicated that there was an apparent “lack of transparency” which undermines the credibility of the final report.
“I recall that one member of parliament did ask the minister how can you have two committees investigating the same incident. We must be able to put out one report after the other… It is not in sync with best practices”.Nana Yaw Akwada
Touching on the sector minister’s revelation that the outline may be subject to review, Mr Akwada indicated that the review of such guidelines in the field of safety is not a new phenomenon, describing it as“fluid” and a best practice in the grand scheme of things.
“For instance, the part about megaphone, it is not clear whether it’s going to be a car mounted megaphone or an individual going through communities to announce that a vehicle carrying explosives is passing… that is not clear. So, these things are reviewed constantly”.Nana Yaw Akwada
Guidelines for carting explosives released
Among the guidelines for carting explosives as revealed by the sector minister, he noted that explosive trucks must have a red flashing light clearly visible at least 100m away and a siren, hooter or automatically operated bed. Mr Jinapor equally expressed the need for a tracking system to be put in the explosive trucks to monitor the speed and its movement.
Mr Jinapor similarly underscored the use of an automatic fire suppression system alongside fire extinguishers for explosive vans. Mr Jinapor further intimated that an integrated monitoring system to check driver fatigue and use of megaphones to warn people and bystanders in case of an incident will be a criterion for explosive trucks.
Following the ghastly explosion in Appiate which led to the devastation of lives and property in January, it emerged that the truck was carrying explosives to the Chirano gold mine about 140km (87 miles) from the scene of the blast, when it was hit by a motorcycle. This reportedly caused a fire, leading to the explosion about 15 minutes later. The driver of the truck managed to escape the blast with minor injuries.
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