A nine-year-old boy was killed by a self-propelled tea-plucking machine at the Cheptabes Tea estate in Kericho County.
The Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) Kericho branch secretary, Dickson Sang said the boy was playing near the machine as it was harvesting tea at the farm owned by the James Finlays Tea Company when the incident happened.
Sang said the boy was curious and wanted to know how the machines operate.
He got into the tea bushes where the machine was passing through so as to have a glimpse of how the tea harvesting blades work.
It was then his head was chopped off in the process before the machine tossed his away his torso a distance of almost 100 meters.
A supervisor on duty noticed 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 was concerned that even after the accident, normal work went on in the company.
He claimed many accidents have happened since the introduction of the machines, which he said should be addressed urgently.
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.