Effective Risk Management necessary in Geothermal Environments
There is a need for a proactive way of avoiding cases of illness, injury or death to workers in the geothermal industry due to unsafe practices.
Effective risk management is critical in ensuring a safe and healthy workplace inherently hazardous Geothermal environment. This is according to Dr. Andrew Muruka, the Deputy Director, Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health Services (DOSHS).
Speaking to HSE East Africa, Dr. Muruka emphasized on the need for a proactive way of avoiding cases of illness, injury or death to workers and other players in the industry due to unsafe practices. This may require review of the regulatory framework, establishment of sector specific guidelines on workplace safety and a program for continuous monitoring which will lower the incident and accident rates.
Dr. Muruka also encouraged the players in the geothermal sector to develop safe Work operating procedures (SOPs) for the high-risk work activities especially those that include high pressure systems, high temperature steam and work at height, all which are very common in geothermal environments. The steam pipes in the geothermal power plants typically carry steam at temperatures of above 150 degrees Celsius and pressures above 10 bar (145 psi). An incident in which one pipe burst during the testing of the Olkaria V power station in July 2019 led to the injury of at least 9 workers.
Dr. Muruka also confirmed that DOSHS would participate in the inaugural East Africa Conference on Occupational Safety and Health (EACOSH) - a conference that aims to bring together all Geothermal Industry stakeholders for deliberations on pertinent issues like policies, investment, industry best practices, and much more related issues of Occupational Safety, Health and Environment with a vision of zero accidents in the East Africa Extractives Industry.
The conference is scheduled take place on the 26th of March 2020 in Naivasha followed by field excursion on the 27th of March 2020. Among the key players will be representative from the Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health - DOSHS, companies in the exploration and development of geothermal resources, academia, manufacturers and suppliers of products and services in the Industry, among others.
Interested persons and organizations are encouraged register for the conference as sponsors, exhibitors or delegates or a presenter link below:
Detailed program is available on www.eacosh.com.