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PIPE BURST

Nine injured in Olkaria power plant accident

The workers were testing steam pressure in the multi-million plant when the pipe burst, crashing into other metallic objects.

In Summary

• The workers from the contractor H-Young Company had to be rushed to a hospital in Naivasha after one of the steam pipes blew up.

• Some of the injured were rushed to the Nairobi Women's Hospital in Naivasha while the two were referred to KNH for specialised treatment.

The Olkaria II Geothermal Power Plant in Naivasha
The Olkaria II Geothermal Power Plant in Naivasha
Image: FILE

Nine workers were injured, two of them seriously, following a freak accident on Monday at Olkaria V power plant in Naivasha.

The staff from the contractor H-Young Company had to be rushed to hospital in Naivasha after one of the steam pipes blew up.

The workers were testing steam pressure in the multi-million plant when the pipe burst, crashing into other metallic objects and injuring them.

Some of the injured were rushed to the Nairobi Women's Hospital in Naivasha while the two were referred to KNH for specialised treatment.

The incident left the other workers in fear over their safety as Kengen and the contractor safety teams moved in to inspect the plant.

According to one of the workers who declined to be named, there was a loud bang from one of the pipes after it burst.

He blamed the accident on engineers who ignored warnings from the system that there was too much pressure on the steam pipes.

“There was a warning siren and those involved took too long to shut off the system before one of the pipes blew up spilling the hot steam and crashing into other objects,” he said.

He said that two of the workers had serious head injuries and had to be transferred to Nairobi while the others were in serious but in stable condition.

An engineer from H-Young Company and who is not authorised to speak to the press said that investigations into the incident had kicked off.

 

“It’s true we had a small accident and our safety team is currently on the ground inspecting the whole system. There is nothing to be worried about,” he said.

Contacted on phone, Kengen CEO Rebecca Miano said that she was in a meeting with some electricity producers but their communications team would issue a statement later.

Last week Miano said that plans were underway to add 250mw into the national grid in the next two years so as to address the rising demand and cost of electricity in the country.

Under the plan, the power producer will add 165 megawatts to the grid by the end of the year from the ongoing Olkaria V power and another 83.3 megawatts by 2021.

(edited by O. Owino)