With 90% of people in the propane business not having adequate formal training, according to leading natural and propane gas trainer, Stephen C. Nook, The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) has joined forces with the Ministry of Public Works to conduct intense training.
Ten persons are participating in a five-day course on the island of Abaco, representing Man-O-War Gas, Guana Lumber and Supplies, and Abaco Gas Company. The training of Abaconians in the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) business comes at a time when LPG plants are “popping up” throughout several islands, according to BTVI’s Dean of Construction Trades, Alexander Darville.
“We, at BTVI, want to help enforce the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Act. On a lot of the cays in Abaco, they are using LPG gas for their propane generators and commercial appliances due to the cost of fuel. Because it’s so widely used, more training is needed,” said Mr. Darville.
Furthermore, Ministry of Public Works, Volatile Inspector, Freeman Hanna, stressed the importance of always visually examining a propane gas tank for leaks because safety is paramount. He added that many accidents could be avoided if the proper safeguards are taken.
“One of the reasons the government decided mail boats shouldn’t transport propane tanks is because of the accidents. People aren’t taking the precautionary measures. Propane is nothing to play with. You must know the regulations. They’re like our daily Bible in the field,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nook has previously conducted training in Inagua, Abaco and New Providence and has been a gas trainer for the past 53 years. The owner of Gas Training Services in the United States (US), Mr. Nook has educated persons in LPG throughout Bermuda, Jamaica, Haiti and across the Southeast US.
He stated how important such training is. “Most guys in the business have no formal training. They must be familiar with the codes,” he stressed, adding that the whole purpose is to promote safety in the industry.
Mr. Nook mentioned that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations that are applicable to The Bahamas must be adhered to. It is the US’ main federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation.
This safety is the focus of participant, Nita Albury, who has worked in the field for three years. She is a salesperson at Abaco Gas and wants to further her education of the volatile substance.
“I want to be more educated about the gas and the safety so I can inform customers of the precautions they should take,” said Ms. Albury.
After being in the field for 12 years, another Abaco Gas employee, Cedric Davis, said he also hopes to gain further theoretical knowledge, but intends to eventually attain his license following certification.
The climax of the training will be a written exam, which must be passed before participants can sit the oral and practical exams to be conducted by Ministry of Public Works officials. Those who pass will receive their LPG certifications. However, Mr. Hanna underscored that the certificate of competency does not equate to having a LPG license, but rather qualifies them to apply.