The Nigerian Institution of Safety Engineers ( NISE) has charged the Department of Petroleum Resources, Federal Road Safety Commission ( FRSC) and Vehicle Inspection Authorities on proper regulation of the design, construction, operations and maintenance of petroleum tankers.
National Chairman (NISE), Engr Abiodun Oyedepo in a statement said that the DPR and other sector regulators should put in place regulations that would eliminate similar disaster that occurred on the Ojodu Berger Bridge on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway last week. The rules, he said would particularly involve education for petroleum tanker owners, tanker drivers, petroleum tanker construction establishments, consumer advocacy groups and all organisations that use petroleum tankers on the basic standards that are required for petroleum tankers in the country. It would also involve more active monitoring of compliance with those standards and the use of incentives to encourage changes in behaviour or the imposition of sanctions to discourage undesirable behaviour. “The NISE is ready to provide support and assistance to regulators in engaging in public education, consumer advocacy and supplying competent professionals that can monitor compliance to standards or refine existing regulations to promote the achievement of safer roads”, he said.
Engr Oyedepo listed important areas of consideration by stakeholders to end disaster and ensure safer roads. This includes compliance of the design of petroleum tankers for Nigerian roads with basic standards that will ensure that such tankers do not rupture or explode easily upon impact. He said that NISE has developed safety standards for petroleum tankers that can be used to specify the material suitable for construction, the thickness of plate to be used for various sizes of tankers, the nature of bulkheads to absorb impact upon the event of a collision, the design strength for overturn protection to be incorporated in the event of a tanker rollover, the types of manholes to use that will prevent product spillage in the event of an accident, the nature of shell stiffeners that will withstand the shocks and vibrations induced by challenging Nigerian roads, standard tanker capacities for petroleum tankers to be used on Nigerian roads, etc. “The NISE is ready to provide assistance to any involved in design in understanding and complying with these standards,” he promised.
The Chairman advised that the construction of tankers should be done by certified builders who use trained welders that comply with welding standards for petroleum tanker construction. The NISE, he noted that through various Divisions of the NSE, has basic standards used for the construction of petrole umtankers that include the standards and methods of welding, materials for welding, welding procedures, testing procedures and so on. “The NISE is ready to provide assistance to any establishment involved in constructing petroleum tankers in understanding and complying with these standards, regardless of whether they are large companies or medium or small-scale enterprises,” he noted.
Talking about the operations of tankers, Engr Oyedepo said that Petroleum Tankers should be driven by drivers who are trained on basic safety standards specifically for petroleum tankers. According to him, drivers should be trained on defensive driving on Nigerian roads, the hazards associated with the transportation of petroleum products, equipment operation and operator safety for road tanker drivers, controlling alcohol and substance abuse, combating driver fatigue. “ The NISE is ready to provide assistance to road transport owners and drivers unions in training drivers to understand and comply with these safety requirements,” he added.
Further to the shock on Lagos tanker disaster, he suggested that maintenance of petroleum tankers should be done by qualified mechanics who comply with basic standards for automobile maintenance. He said the NISE, through other divisions of the NSE, also has basic standards for proper maintenance that covers proper engine maintenance, brake maintenance, tyre maintenance, electrical system maintenance and so on – systems that have a crucial role in ensuring safe and reliable operations of the petroleum tanker. “The NISE is ready to provide assistance to road transport owners and road transport workers on maintaining petroleum tankers economically while assuring vehicle road worthiness and reliability,”he noted.
Engr Abiodun said: “As the Division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers that is responsible for finding solutions to safety problems in Nigeria using engineering by Nigerian engineers, the NISE is fully committed to assisting the Federal Government to tackle the problem of petroleum tanker explosions and fires. NISE is also ready to assist all stakeholders who require professional assistance in their own sphere of activities so as to improve the safety of our roads in Nigeria.The NISE looks forward to eliminating the menace of petroleum tanker fires on Nigerian roads”.
The disaster that occurred near the Ojodu Berger bridge on the Lagos Ibadan Expressway in Lagos in the evening of June 28, 2018 had resulted in the loss of nine persons and 54 vehicles. The petroleum tanker laden with products, whose brakes failed, overturned and ultimately exploded after its contents discharged uncontrollably onto the road.
The Chairman of NISE extended the engineers’ condolences to all those who lost loved ones in this catastrophe and commiserates with Nigeria and Nigerians who have to again endure the pain and agony caused by still another petroleum tanker tragedy.
He urged the Federal Government, State Governments and all stakeholders involved in ensuring the safety of the populace to take action to guarantee the safety of the public particularly with respect to the frequent incidents of fires caused by unsafe petroleum tankers in the country.
He said the NISE as the Division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) responsible for Safety, is ready and available to work with all responsible stakeholders who can play a role in eliminating the hazards of petroleum tanker fires and explosions from Nigerian roads.