Following reported cases of fire incidents and oil spills in most parts of the country, the management of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has organised a Health and Safety workshop for the staff to sensitize them on the importance of safety and healthy environment in their work place.
It was also revealed during the workshop that nearly 3000 people perished, thousands suffered various degrees of burns while many others were permanently incapacitated, noting that the environmental impact of these disasters on biodiversity cannot be estimated since October 1998.
The workshop which was organised by the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemicals Company limited (KRPC), a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), was part of activities lined up by the company to mark the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) week.
Addressing participants at the workshop, NNPC Group Managing Director, Engr Andrew Yakubu who was represented by KRPC acting managing Director, Engr Bafred Enjugu, explained that the refinery recorded low oil spill and other related cases in the year 2013 due to the high premium the staff and management placed on safety and healthy environment, noting that the hallmark of success in every oil and gas organisation lies with its commitment to HSE compliance and vibrancy of its health and safety culture.
The series of oil pipeline fire disasters that have devastated many parts of the country no doubt shows the level of negligence and lack of application of safety standards by players in the oil industry in the country.
Since October 1998 when a pipeline fire disaster killed over 1000 people in Jesse, Delta State, the country has recorded over 30 pipeline disasters out of which, many occurred in Lagos and Ogun states alone, while Abia, Rivers and Delta states had their own share too.
According to the NNPC boss, the workshop theme, “Overcoming HSE Challenges in NNPC” was apt, as it will afford stakeholders the opportunity to reflect on their HSE performance, identify the gaps and come up with strategies towards continual improvements and sustainable development.
In a paper presentation titled, “Building a Proactive Safety Culture”, a lecturer from the Department of Environmental Science, Kaduna Polytechnic, Dr Yahaya Ibrahim said Nigeria is losing billions of money annually due to environmental and safety challenges orchestrated by human negligence, in addition to productivity loss and health care cost.
He called on NNPC management to device more technical ways to tackle oil spillage in all its facilities across the country.
Weak laws and corruption were also identified as major impediments to the approval of the enforcement of international safety standards.
It is expected that at the end of this workshop, participants who were drawn from various departments at KRPC will put into practice the various suggestions and recommendations made by the speakers, by making safety and healthy environment their watch word.