Nine H. Young employees injured at Olkaria Geothermal Plant

Operations at the Olkaria power plant in Naivasha were disrupted for hours on Monday, after a steam pipe under construction burst injuring nine workers.

The incident at Olkaria V Unit I plant, raised fears over plans by the Kenya Electricity Generating (Kengen) company to add an extra 83.3mw to the national grid by end of the year could be derailed.

Two of the workers from H-Young Company, which has been contracted to construct the plant, were left in critical condition.

The workers were testing steam pressure in the multi-million plant when it blew up, crashing into other metallic objects that injured the workers.

The injured were rushed to Naivasha hospital while two others were referred to Nairobi for specialised treatment.

The incident left other workers in fear of 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.

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He claimed there were warnings from the system of too much pressure on the steam pipes but which were ignored.

“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 added that two of the workers suffered serious head injuries and had to be transferred to Nairobi while the others were in stable condition.

An engineer from H-Young Company and who was 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 and there is nothing to be worried about,” he said.

When contacted on phone, Kengen CEO Rebecca Miano said she was in a meeting with some electricity producers but said that their communication 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 165mw to the grid by the end of the year from the ongoing Olkaria V power and another 83.3mw by 2021.

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Olkaria power plantKengen