24 The status of emergency preparedness and response in petrol stations in bushenyi and sheema districts in uganda

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IntroductionAccording to Uganda Revenue Authority, there has been an increase of newly registered vehicles from 1.8%–38.7% from 2009 to 2013. This has led to the emergence of many petrol stations in the country. However, there is little attention put in terms of safety and health especially in emergency preparedness and response. There is increasing evidence that emergency preparedness and response is one of the critical factors for improving safety and health at work places. Despite its importance, there seems to be little emphasis in its development and implementation in Uganda. We carried out routine inspections in the districts of Bushenyi and Sheema to assess emergency preparedness and response compliance with Uganda’s Occupational Safety and Health Act 2006. This study was focused mainly in the area of fire safety and the presence fire assembly point.MethodsThis study was carried out using Uganda’s Occupational Safety and Health check list which was administered to 25 selected workplaces in the above districts from April 2015 up to April 2016. The data was collected and analysed using Excel programme.ResultsOut of twenty six workplaces inspected, 69% had fire extinguishers, 31% didn’t have fire extinguishers, 66% had sand buckets and 34% had no sand buckets. All the twenty six workplaces had no fire alarm, no emergency action plan, no assembly point, no emergency contacts, no signage and no fire drills have ever been done.DiscussionThe findings from this study show that emergency preparedness and response has not been paid much attention yet it is one of the strategies for improving safety and health at workplaces. The results also show the employers only knew fire extinguishers and sand buckets when it comes to the area of emergency preparedness and response. The fire extinguishers in some of these workplaces had long expired and were written in Chinese language which the locals could not comprehend. There is need to sensitise the employers and employees on the importance of developing and implementing a sound emergency preparedness and response plan.

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