Adoption Level of a Proactive Safety Program Within the Construction Phase of Olkaria’s Geothermal Power Stations of Nakuru County, Kenya
Nzioka, Luka Musembi
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Kenya is among the leading countries globally with significant geothermal resources. Geothermal energy provides reliable, cost-competitive, base load power with a small carbon footprint, and reduces vulnerability to changes in climate by diversifying power supply away from hydropower. Kenya has set out ambitious targets for geothermal power plants to meet an increasing power demand with significant impact to the safety and health of the workforce. This study focused mainly on this sector with a great emphasis to Olkaria’s geothermal power stations of Nakuru County that are under development. Olkaria domes has over 71% of Kenya’s potential to geothermal power capability. The overall objective of this study was to determine level of adoption of proactive safety program measures within construction phase of Olkaria’ s geothermal power stations of Nakuru County. Additionally, the study sought to identify the level of importance attached to each proactive safety measure, determines the strategies employed in ensuring that proactive safety program measures are adopted at construction phase and to establish the barriers and success factors to the adoption of this proactive safety program measures. Safety performance metrics and leading indicators from Institute for Work and Health Organisational performance metrics provided measure for the safety performance. Known safety performance indicators of this study were quantitative and qualitative. A descriptive cross-sectional and evaluative study design which uses both quantitative and qualitative methods in data collection has been applied in this study, with a study population being the workers working at the two Geothermal power plants that are currently under construction, a sample was drawn from all the Departments, data was collected using a self-administered questionnaires, observations through a structured checklist, document review and key informant interviews. The data collected was computer managed and analyzed by using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences software version 20.0. Analysis was achieved by use of descriptive statistics which includes frequencies, percentages, and the mean. The overall result shows that there is partial adoption of the proactive safety measures with dismal performance in process safety measures and thus need for contractors to have policy statement by the top management in commitment to support proactive safety program adoption and implementation. The research pointed out that, employee competency assessment is of great importance to this challenging area, and management should consider their competencies before being hired. Barriers to the adoption of this program has been noted, the management has not provided adequate budget allocation to the provision of personal protective equipment and thus workers are vulnerable to injuries as a result, there is need for management to incorporate safety budget in their core project budget. The findings of this study when adopted, will provide a body of knowledge to all players within the construction phase to enforce a positive safety culture, help to prevent accidents from occurring, and improve health and safety of workers. By incorporating these proactive safety measures as a zero-harm strategy, management shall understand that accidents are preventable and zero accident is a realizable goal.