By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

ABUJA – THE Federal Government has said that henceforth, anyone operating petrol stations and gas plants in the country will obtain certificate of safety from the Department of Occupational Health and Safety, OHS, of the Ministry of Labour and Employment to reduce incessant casualty occasioned by gas explosions and fire out-breaks.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who stated this after an on-the-spot assessment of the gas explosion at the Inter Corp Limited Gas Plant, Nnewi, owned by Chicason Group, which recently claimed many lives also said that no licence issued by the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, will be valid unless there is a certification from the OSH department of his ministry.

Senator Ngige further hinted that the ministry would soon embark on monthly inspection of factories to ensure total compliance, adding that this could be done because there were offices in all the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.

The planned issuance of certificate of safety to factories and workplaces came on the heels of the decision by the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, that every employer yet to enrol their workers on the Employees Compensation Scheme, ECS, would begin payment from July 2011 except companies that were established after the July 2011 commencement date.

Ngige accompanied by the Managing Director of NSITF, Abubakar Munir, said: “Actually, the Department of Petroleum Resources issuing licences for the building of petrol stations and gas plants is not enough. The Department should also be issuing a safety certificate from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.

“From now on, no DPR licence will be valid unless there is a certification from the Occupational Health and Safety, OSH, department of the ministry. The ministry is also planning monthly inspection of factories to ensure compliance. We can do that because we have offices in all the 36 states of the federation including Abuja.”

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