The Lagos Tanker Explosion Incident
On Thursday 28th June, 2018 on Otedola Bridge, inward Ojodu Berger area of Lagos State, Nigeria at about 1730hrs (5:30pm), a fuel tanker transporting petroleum product fell and spilled its content causing serious explosion and a resultant fire breakout which left scores of lives lost and vehicles burnt.
The statistics of the reported casualties as at the time of the report are as follows:
- 9 Persons dead
- 4 Persons injured
- 54 vehicles burnt (1 tanker, 5 buses, 2 trucks, 1 tricycle and 45 cars)
It has been reported that the tanker rolled back before it fell, and this was attributed to break failure.
Though I cannot give a full and detail account for the cause of the incident, I can attribute this incident to be caused by a collective and conglomeration of failures both in the part of the government, the company who was involved in the transportation of the petroleum product and the driver of the tanker.
Why am I saying this?
Let me analyze the different facet of the failures:
There is no enforced regulation governing the transport of hazardous material. We may have some paper work, but they are all on paper. No one is enforcing it. In some develop countries; they have what is called HAZMAT endorsement. The HAZMAT means – Hazardous Materials. This HAZMAT endorsement controls the storage and transportation of hazardous materials. It requires that a driver must pass the HAZMAT test and some background checks before he is given the license to transport hazardous materials.
The Private firm involved in the supply of the petroleum product:
Safety compliance is very poor among most of our private firms. This is seen in the poor maintenance of their vehicles, driver’s management and employment process. No routine checks on vehicles, drivers are not employed based on expertise and experience; also they do not carry out routine medical assessment on the drivers to ascertain their fitness.
Some drivers are very careless; some not due to ignorance but sheer negligence. Some get involve in substance abuse.
I am not saying that the above is what causes the incident, but some of the above factors may have contributed in one way or the other to such tragic incident.
Every accident is a learning opportunity. The aim here is to understand the root cause of every incident, and then draw out measures to prevent its reoccurrence.
Here are my candid recommendations:
- Government should put up regulation governing the transportation of hazardous materials strictly; flammable materials inclusive. This hazardous materials regulation should include storage and transportation.
- A regulatory agency should be set up. Their duty should be to strictly monitor and implement hazardous material regulation. In cases of accident, they will be involved in investigation to determine the root cause of the incident, proffer corrective measures and also give further recommendation.
- The transportation regulation should cover drivers transporting these hazardous materials. Drivers should be licensed for the transportation of hazardous materials. This means; not all drivers should be allowed to convey hazardous materials, except hazardous material licensed drivers.
- There should be heavy fine or punishment for non-compliance to the hazardous material regulation.
- Private firms should provide means of identity for their entire vehicle aside from the license plate number. This identification should include the name of the company and a fleet number. This will make it possible for road safety representatives to trace any vehicle driver that disobeys the traffic rules and any vehicle that do not comply with the road safety standards. With this information, it will be easy for the agency to send a signal to the company to correct themselves or summon them.
- Organizations should make sure that they only engage competent drivers. Conduct routine medical check for the drivers, implement substance abuse policy and also devise a means of monitoring their driver performance on the road. Also, they should introduce speed limit for all their vehicles.
- The tankers conveying flammable materials should be well sealed to avoid spill even if they fall.
- Route management should be paramount for the safe conveyance of the hazardous products. The route and time of transport should be determined. If possible, such hazardous materials should be conveyed when the traffic is light; equally, a route with a lighter traffic should be considered.
- Emergency numbers should be placed on the transport vehicles, where anyone can call to report misdemeanor of any driver. This call should go directly to the company’s control unit.
- Drivers should comply with all safety rules as much as possible. Faulty vehicles should be reported to the transport manager as early as possible.
These are my candid recommendations regarding the Lagos Tanker Explosion Incident: My Recommendations.
Contributions are welcome!!!