Port Expansion Workers Fume Over Colleague’s Accident

China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) employee Mundele Kabinda, whose right arm was ripped off on Sunday during an accident at work, was allegedly forced by one of his superiors to remove a brick from the giant mixer, which led to his injury.

This is according to some of the employees who visited New Era offices yesterday to express their unhappiness over the accident, which they say could have been avoided.

CHEC is currently constructing the N$3.9 billion port expansion on behalf of the ports authority, Namport. The project is scheduled for completion in 2017.

The employees, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also claim that the health and safety officer that was on duty on Sunday was allegedly fast asleep when the accident happened.

According to them, Kabinda was employed as a cleaner and was not supposed to be on the platform at all.

"The safety officer was asleep and thus did not even know that Kabinda was told to take the brick out of the mixer," one of the employees of CHEC told New Era on Tuesday.

According to them, four employees were on the platform when the accident happened and had to pull Kabinda out of the machine to prevent him being completely sucked in by the mixer's conveyer belt.

The workers, who witnessed the accident as it unfolded on Sunday morning, also told New Era that the mixer was indeed faulty due to the brick that was stuck inside.

It is alleged that the employees were informed by their senior that the machine was switched off due to the breakdown. Kabinda was allegedly then instructed to remove the brick from the mixer.

But it is believed that the machine was not switched off, as they were told, resulting in Kabinda's right arm being trapped and ripped off.

The employees added that the platform of the mixer is relatively high and Kabinda, after the accident, had to be taken down with a crane.

When contacted on the allegations made by the employees, CHEC, through Jezreel Communications that deals with public relations on behalf of the company, said that an investigation was underway.

"With the investigation underway, it might be wise for us to wait for its outcome, which may prove or disprove the allegations. We will not comment at this stage so that we don't jeopardise any likely outcome," Usi //Hoebeb of Jezreel Communications said on Tuesday.

Welwitschia Hospital manager Gareth Smith told New Era that Kabinda was in a stable condition.

"It's a massive trauma that he went through. Overall we don't normally allow media to speak to our patients or divulge any information about them, unless the patient himself agrees to it," Smith said on Tuesday.

Source: All Africa