Saturday, 28 January 2023, 9:07

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Tugetab Kalenjin

9-Year-Old Boy Killed By Tea-Plucking Machine In Kericho

A nine-year-old boy was cut to death by a self-propelled tea-plucking machine at the Cheptabes Tea estate in Kericho County.

According to the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) Kericho branch secretary, Dickson Sang, the boy was playing near the machine as it was harvesting tea at the farm owned by the James Finlays Tea Company.

Sang said the boy was curious and wanted to know how the machines operate. He reportedly got inside the tea bushes where the machine was passing through so as to have a glimpse of how the tea harvesting blades work.

His head was chopped off in the process, before the machine tossed his away his torso a distance of almost 100 meters.

A supervisor noticed that there were some clothes around the blades and after going to check, he discovered that it was the boy’s torso, Sang said.

He accused the company of using the machines on the farm without conducting a risk assessment and concerns that even after the accident, normal work went on in the company.

The secretary claimed many accidents have happened since the introduction of the machines, which he said should be addressed urgently.

In a statement to the media, James Finlay Company regretted the accident, saying the company will support the family, wider community and staff.

They said they were working closely with the investigating authorities, and that it had reviewed the operation of the self propelled tea harvesters in their company and had launched investigations to establish how the accident happened.

The body of the deceased was transferred to the Kericho County Referral Hospital mortuary.