Christmas shift ends tragically as 3 workers of cooking oil company in Athi River die at work

Deceased Golden Africa Kenya Limited employees Mathew Kiprotich, James Wanjala Nyongesa and Stephen Okoth. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

Police in Athi River, Machakos County are investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three employees of Golden Africa Kenya Limited.

Athi River Sub-County Police Commander Mary Njoki said preliminary investigations indicate that the three suffocated to death while cleaning a septic tank at the cooking oil manufacturing plant.

“The three men who died are workers of Golden Africa Kenya Limited, which is located in Lukenya,” Njoki told The Standard.

Police say the three youthful men died on Friday, December 23.

It remains unclear how or why the three men gained access into the septic tank, which is usually cleaned using advanced equipment.

Preliminary investigations, however, suggest that one of the victims had entered the septic tank to clean it, but ran out of air, consequently raising the alarm.

His two colleagues, who offered to help, unfortunately ran out of oxygen too, resulting in their deaths.

“We understand that the employees were finalising their shifts so that they could break for the Christmas holiday,” said Njoki.

An employee of Golden Africa Kenya Limited, who spoke to The Standard on condition of anonymity, said the three victims died at 10am on Friday.

The Standard has reached Golden Africa Kenya Limited Human Resource Manager Perpetual Wainaina for comment.

The victims have been identified as James Wanjala Nyongesa, Mathew Kiprotich and Stephen Okoth.

Their bodies were taken to Machakos County Referral Hospital morgue pending postmortem.

Golden Africa Kenya Limited manufactures Avena and Pika cooking oils and Zenta and Super Saba bar soaps.