As Ghana marked the World Day of Health and Safety at Work on Wednesday, April 28th, the University of Mines and Technology in partnership with Tarkwa Gold Fields together with the Fire Service, DVLA, the Police, GPRTU, and the Road Safety Authority mounted a massive road safety awareness campaign across the Tarkwa-Nsuaem municipality.
The first of its kind municipal-wide awareness campaign was themed; ‘Anticipate, Prepare and Respond’.
Officials from stakeholder institutions used local radio, public address systems on a roadshow as well as a simulation exercise to highlight issues of road safety to private and commercial drivers in and around the Tarkwa-Nsuaem municipality.
Speaking to Citi News on the sidelines of the campaign, the Station Officer of Tarkwa Divisional Police MTTD, Chief Inspector Kwame Tekyi said the municipality has seen some disturbing road fatalities that need to be checked.
“The state of road accidents in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem municipality has been worrisome. Just from January 1st up to 31st of March alone, we recorded about 19 cases of road accidents, six of which were fatal. Out of this, we lost nine (9) lives. Therefore, the purpose of today’s programme is to educate the drivers to ensure sanity on our roads“, he said.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mines and Technology, Professor Richard Kwasi Amankwah, who is the brain behind the World Day of Health and Safety at Work awareness campaign told Citi News that, as a higher educational institution in the municipality, UMaT has a responsibility to help address the societal concern of road fatalities.
“Within three months, about 700 Ghanaians have lost their lives on the road and today being World Day of Health and Safety at Work, we thought that as a university, we have to do something to help reverse the trend of carnage on our roads. The main idea is for us to team up and raise the awareness in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem municipalities that we live once and though we will die someday, we have to go at the right time and appropriately and not because of somebody’s carelessness. Apart from the awareness going on today, eventually for the next two months, we are going to team up with GPRTU again to have in-house education for about 90% of the commercial drivers in Tarkwa and issue certificates to them. The instructors will be the safety managers of the mining companies, DVLA instructors, Fire Service, and MTTD instructors. At the end of the day, our roads will become safer“, he said.
The Health and Safety Manager of Tarkwa Goldfields, Charles Opoku Amoateng, who manages a large fleet of mining trucks and vehicles said safety is critical in their operation.
“We take priority in safety because it is a discipline and if you get the discipline right, it translates into all other forms of benefits. Thus, production efficiency cost reduction and profit maximization. The biggest asset of a company is the workforce. We ensure that we have the road network in good condition and ensure safety on the road. This is because we transport our employees from Tarkwa to the site. Our consumables, in terms of the reagent that we use, are all transported through the road network, so if you have an accident, for example, blocking the road, we stand the possibility of delaying production. That is how come road safety is of paramount interest to us to ensure we help to reduce the risk on the road”, he said.
According to the National Road Safety Authority, Western Region recorded 25 road accident fatalities in the first quarter of 2020, but this increased to 32 cases in the first quarter of 2021.
Despite repeated calls for drivers to adhere to road safety regulations, some drivers in Tarkwa say the poor roads must be fixed to improve safe driving.
While agreeing to calls for the Tarkwa-Takoradi deplorable road to be fixed, the Planning Manager of the Western Regional Road Safety Authority, Adeline Grant Essilfie insisted on road safety adherence.
“The roads can be fixed and there could still be accidents once there is no safety protocol adherence“, she said.