More safety regulations coming for petroleum industry

More safety regulations coming for petroleum industry

Observer writer

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Energy minister Fayval Williams on Sunday announced that, following a recent review, additional safety regulations are being examined for the petroleum industry.

Her statement follows last Friday's massive fire at Heaven's Fesco service station, which resulted in the death of 59-year-old mechanic Daniel Farquharson and the injuring of four others who remain in hospital.

Williams reportedly met with the owners and staff of the gas station on Sunday.

“The Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology is the responsible ministry for the petroleum sector, for ensuring that there are safety standards across the sector, [including] gas stations, how petrol is transported, how it is picked up at Petrojam. I am not going to stand here today and tell you that everything is perfect in the sector, because there is still need for additional safety regulations.

“We just recently completed, as in last week, a public consultation around some of the [safety regulations], so in short order the industry will be hearing about the additional safety actions that came out of that petroleum review committee,” she said.

She also called for additional training for staff.

“We are also calling on the trade, at this time, to ensure that their staff has the appropriate training so that they can respond, and they know what to do in situations like this, especially [regarding] people management at the service station. I am calling on motorists who come to gas stations as well, to obey the rules, because many times they come in and I am sure as attendants you may say something to the driver when they are on their cellphone or if they have a cigarette or something, and they might not always want to obey what you are saying.

“So I am standing here, as the minister in the sector, to call on Jamaicans who use the service stations to obey the rules when the gas attendants speak to them about where to park, not to be on their cellphones, and not to have naked lights, in terms of cigarettes,” she said.

The energy minister also expressed condolence to the family of the man who died and to those who have been hurt since the incident.

She disclosed, too, that Heaven's Fesco service station had met safety and operation standards following an inspection last September.

“I know that from the ministry's perspective we have processes and procedures in place as it relates to monitoring the safety of [gas] stations across Jamaica. In fact, our information reveals that it was only in September of last year that this station was thoroughly inspected and found to be perfect in its inspection.

“On Friday late afternoon, all of Jamaica watched a video on social media that saw the devastation that happened to this [gas] station… I want all of Jamaica to know that maybe what you saw on the video was not the entirety of what happened because, in speaking to Mr Heaven, that video did not capture the fact that he was there in trying to stop the leaking,” she said.

Williams went on to commend the first responders who rallied to ensure that the fire was brought under control.

Meanwhile, proprietor of Heaven's Fesco, Lynden “Trevor” Heaven, told his staff: “Together we will rise like a phoenix.

“On behalf of my family, I just want to express my sincere apology, sympathy for the trauma that you may have experienced here at work, and even those who were not at work who could have been here to have experienced such unfortunate incident…a lot of our colleagues and friends who have come to sympathise and to empathise with what took place here, and we are grateful for that level of support and intervention,” said Heaven.

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