By Frank Oshanugor
One of the safety cautions officially imposed on all filling stations in Nigeria is ensuring that vehicle engines are switched off before petrol is dispensed into the engine.
However, investigation conducted by SECURITYREPORTERS.com in Lagos has revealed that the average petrol station attendant cares less and remains unmindful of the dangers associated with dispensing fuel when vehicle engines are running.
At the different petrol stations visited during the period of investigation, it was observed that only a few of the attendants have the courage to ask motorists who leave their engine running to switch off same before fuel is dispensed. Many of the attendants cannot look at the face of such deviant motorists to request them to switch off engine.
Even though, all the stations are signposted with safety caution stickers often pasted on fuel pumping machines, advising motorists to switch their engine, mobile phones and others, the average motorist does not comply at all times.
Investigation revealed that commercial vehicle drivers with yellow colour buses are more culpable in breaching the safety caution. Many of them are usually in a hurry and take pleasure in quick service at filling stations preferring to leave their engines running.
A good number of such motorists are attended to, by the care less attendants who are not even mindful of the safety caution pasted on the fuel pumping machine. In some filling stations, it was observed that even when some passengers try to draw attention of attendants to the wrong steps being taken by dispensing fuel into a vehicle with running engine, such attendants often show indifference thereby leaving some impression that they are not properly tutored on safety as it relates to their job as fuel station attendants.
Investigation also revealed that many of the stations lack constant supervision of the attendants given the manner they react, when any body raises eye brow when they dispense fuel inappropriately. They often exhibit un-seriousness towards such correction thereby giving the impression that they are not properly supervised.
Our observation also revealed that a good number of commercial vehicles involved in this breach of safety at filling stations are in poor auto-electrical condition as they do not have engine keys. Improvised wires are used to kick start the engines and this makes it a little difficult to switch off at filling stations. Some of the vehicles also have less active batteries that do not usually automate the engine to start at will particularly when switched off at filling stations.
Some of the filling station managers and supervisors spoken to, feigned ignorance of what their attendants are doing while some outrightly tried to defend their attendants by insisting that some drivers are “very stubborn” and would prefer to constitute nuisance. So in other not to create ugly scene, the attendants would dispense fuel to them. This is however, without considering the higher responsibility imposed on the management of the station in case of fire outbreak.
From investigation also, some of the stations do not seem to have regular refresher training for their attendants in handling the available fire extinguisher bottles available at the stations.