Accra,– The tragic incident that hit Appiatse, a farming community near Bogoso in the Western Region on Thursday, following the explosion of a vehicle carrying quantities of mining explosives, has ignited concerns about safety practices in the transportation of explosive substances.
In 2012, Ghana passed the Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 (LI 2177) to regulate and ensure safety in the conveyance, storage, possession, manufacture and use of explosives for mining, quarrying and civil works.
The law also applies to substances used for the manufacture of explosives.
It also provides with respect to effects on the environment of the manufacture, storage and use of explosives for mining purposes, fire prevention and emergency response.
But what does the law say about the transportation of explosives?
Section 95 of the Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 requires that before a person would be licensed or permitted to transport explosives by road, that person must have an approved operating plan; an approved operating licence; an explosives manager, and competent personnel, and Police permit required for transportation.
Under Section 104 of the law, a person who uses a vehicle to transport explosives “shall” ensure that the vehicle is authorised and is of sound construction and free from any patent defect, and is maintained in good working order.
The vehicle must also be propelled by a diesel engine, and provided with two fire extinguishers mounted on a suitable holder that are readily available for use and which are kept in good working order at all times.
Section 105 (4) directs that a person who drives a vehicle that is transporting explosives “shall not” drive faster than 60 kilometres per hour, and further directs that a person “shall” transport explosives in a motor vehicle between 0600 hours and 1800 hours.
Section 107 of the law requires that vehicles used for transporting explosives must be accompanied by “competent” person and police escort.
“A person who transports explosives in a road vehicle shall ensure that the explosives are under the direct control of a person who has a certificate of competency in explosives,” it adds.
Section 109 of the law stipulate that a person driving a road vehicle that is transporting explosives, shall not stop or park that vehicle in any city, town, village or residential accommodation, except to avoid an accident, comply with a traffic sign, obey a direction lawfully given by an authorised person, or due to some cause beyond the control of the driver.
In an event where a vehicle transporting explosives is involved in an accident, the law requires of the person transporting the explosives to ensure that explosives are examined by a competent person.
In a situation where the explosives have been damaged or spilled after the accident, the competent person is required to implement the measures determined in the emergency response plan to make the area safe and to recover the explosives.
The law also directs that arrangements are made to keep the explosives under guard at all times.
Source: Ghana News Agency