Improving Safety Procedures in the Fuel Stations in Nablus Governorate

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Faisal Menawi
Mohammad Al-Tamimi
Waseem Al- Shayeb
Zaid raiq
Mohammad Foqha
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This report aims at discussing the safety conditions in fuel stations in Palestine as they are considered as sensitive and high risk work place to occupational health and safety for both workers and customers.  The importance of general safety requirements is elaborated and the safety requirements by the competent authorities are presented.  A study area; Nablus governorate; is selected as our sample and all fuel stations in the study area are visited.  Safety conditions questionnaire is prepared for this purpose, and is filled and the collected data are analyzed. Safety audit is applied to one of the surveyed stations and results are compared to available requirements and recommendations. In addition, a conceptual design for the ideal fuel station that complies to the requirements is developed. The report concluded that the vast majority of operating fuel stations in Nablus governorate do not comply to standards and safety requirements available in Palestine.  The reasons for the noncompliance are discussed and some recommendations are presented including the increase in inspection visit to fuel stations, provision of adequate training for staff in fuel stations, and the need to conduct audits and checkups for all fuel stations in Palestine in order to improve the safety condition.       Statement of the problem Fuel stations are as old as cars in Palestine. In terms of their design and structure, they differ according to their age and the set of standards and regulations that were applicable at the period of construction. Taking into account that Palestine was under five different administrative regimes during the past five decades, it is expected that the design and construction standards were differing according to the requirements of the ruling authority.  This study was prepared to evaluate the extent into which the standards of health and occupational safety are applied in fuel stations especially in Nablus governorate which include 27 working fuel stations which offers various kinds of fuel to customers.  The study included the verification of the compliance of the fuel stations in the study area to the safety regulations set by the authorized institutions. It also aimed at recognizing the problems that prevent the application of these regulations through a comparative study of these standards and regulations versus the existing situation in fuel stations.    Objectives of the Study This study aims at fulfilling the following objectives: 1.       Defining the Palestinian standards and tracking the authorities and institutions involved in the process of licensing fuel station and the unique role for each one. 2.      Verifying actual safety condition at all fuel stations in the study area.     3.      Performing a safety audit on one fuel station as an example of the fuel station surveyed     4.      Developing an integrated design for fuel station that considers the safety requirements valid in the State of Palestine.   Scope of Work The governorate of Nablus was considered as the study area for this project. Its location in the central northern West Bank and the presence of Nablus city which is major center of trade and industry were main reasons for this selection.  In addition, being such a center, the governorate included considerable number of fuel stations of different ages and thus varies in terms of design and construction parameters as well as safety measures.  This fact made the selection of Nablus consistent with the aim of this study.  The planned survey covered all fuel stations in the governorate (27 stations in total).  One station was selected to be audited for safety conditions. In addition, the ideal design that complies to the existing standards and regulations was made for one category of fuel stations.  It is worth mentioning that the availability of scientific research and literature on the studies issue was minimal either in the university library or on the internet relevant sites. The resources available on regulations and standards from concerned authorities were in many cases fragmented and unorganized or undated which made the process of documentation for them more difficult.  Methodology The study was divided into three main phases as follows:         Phase I:  discussed the Palestinian standards set for the construction and licensing of fuel stations. It defined all stakeholders involved in approval granting, construction, operation of fuel stations including Petroleum Authority, municipalities and local authorities, Civil Defense, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Health, Environment Quality Authority, Ministry of Labor, and Palestinian Standards Institute. These institutions were visited and consulted about their respective roles.           Phase II: aimed at conducting evaluation of existing situation through site visits and interviews at the fuel stations in Nablus governorate. The visits had the purpose of recognizing the main problems and occupational misconduct relevant to safety practiced on the ground.  A questionnaire was prepared for this purpose for all fuel stations in the study area. It was filled by the researchers during the interviews with the administration and staff of the fuel stations. Later on, the questionnaires were fed into Microsoft Excel and statistically analyzed to verify trends of existing situation.           Phase III:   in this phase a fuel station was selected to perform a safety audit as real case situation of existing stations. In addition, a prototype design for a fuel station that fulfills the requirements and conditions set by the respective authorities and meets the safety standards was developed. A comparison between existing conditions and designed prototype against standards was made.