The Employment and Labour Relations court has ordered a tea factory in Kisii to pay a casual worker Sh3.2 million for injuries suffered following an accident within its premises seven years ago. Justice Mathews Nduma upheld the decision of the magistrate court to hold Kebirigo Tea Factory Co. Limited liable for the injuries caused to Rebbecca Kwamboka in the course of duty on the night of February 18, 2013. The factory is affiliated to the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA). The judge dismissed an appeal filed by the factory and upheld the award of general damages for pain and suffering in the sum of Sh1 million, Sh2,228,400 for loss of earning capacity and Sh15,000 for special damages. However, the total amount will be less Sh414.298 already paid to Ms Kwamboka by the factory under Workmen’s Compensation. Justice Nduma also directed the factory to meet the costs of the suit. The factory with over 12,000 tea growers was established in 1971 and handles more than 15 million kilos of green leaf annually. Ms Kwamboka testified that she was 21 years old at the time of the accident in which she suffered injuries including “compound comminuted fracture of the left middle melecarpet bone, dislocation of the left elbow and degloving injuries on the left upper arm, left forearm and left hand'. She used to earn monthly salary of Sh18,570 and was a seasonal worker at the Tea Factory. On the day of the accident, she was working at the tea factory's discharge section, where she had been assigned duties by her supervisor Kennedy Nyariki. The supervisor then re-assigned her duties at the cyclone section without telling her of the risks associated with working at the department. When she explained to the supervisor that she did not know how to work in the cyclone section, the supervisor instructed his assistant Eric Nyambane to guide her. She testified that she was required to remove tea leaves from the drum and take them to the drier. She worked at the cyclone section until about 4am when the motor of the drier machine short circuited. The supervisor told her to take the tea leaves to the conveyor. She carried the tea leaves in a sack twice and on the third time, whilst offloading tea leaves to the Conveyor, the Conveyor trapped her left hand.
Source: Business Daily