Silo’s structural problems brought to Eskom’s attention long ago – Solidarity

Since January, Eskom has been aware of structural problems of the silo which collapsed at its Majuba power station the day before yesterday, trade union Solidarity said today. Solidarity blames Eskom for not having addressed the issue, accusing the company of negligence.

Solidarity has learnt that Eskom workers had been monitoring resonances at the silo since January. It had been reported to the company at that stage that, based on the increase in vibration, the silo was showing signs of deterioration.

According to Deon Reyneke, Solidarity’s Head of the Energy Industry, it was found in June this year, and again three weeks prior to the collapse, that the silo’s vibration had worsened. “Vibration of a concrete structure is extremely problematic. The vibration caused or worsened weaknesses in the silo and as the vibration increased, it eventually led to the collapse,” Reyneke explains.

Reyneke is also of the opinion that the temporary measures, which are now being implemented, jeopardise safety at the power station. “Through its negligence, Eskom is placing its employees at risk. To fully supply all six units at the power station, hundreds of trucks per hour have to offload coal at temporary conveyors close to the furnaces. Apart from the risk of truck accidents and higher operating costs, it also holds a fire hazard,” Reyneke says.

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