US Steel sued over worker's conveyor belt accident

Kelly Holleran Dec. 4, 2008, 5:56am

Jimmie G. Haines has filed suit against United States Steel Company and its construction superintendent and safety coordinator, alleging he was seriously injured after a piece of his safety harness got stuck to a piece at the end of a conveyor belt cylinder.

While Haines was sitting on metal decking and cutting a piece of 4x4 angle iron, his O-ring from his safety harness got caught on a piece of flat stock attached to the end of a conveyor belt cylinder, according to the complaint filed Nov. 25 in Madison County Circuit Court.

The cylinder "was in operation causing the Plaintiff to be thrown about resulting in serious and permanent injuries," the suit states.

At the time of the incident, Haines was installing falsework for a temporary platform as part of his job as a construction ironworker for Kvaerner-Songer Company, according to the complaint.

Kvaerner-Songer was a general contracting firm that hired Haines to finish work in a contract between it and United States Steel Company, the suit states.

Because of his injuries, Haines has suffered great pain and anguish and incurred substantial medical expenses, he claims.

Haines also lost large sums of money and is seriously and permanently disabled, according to the complaint.

He claims United States Steel Company and Greg McKee, its construction superintendent and safety coordinator, failed to provide Haines with a safe place to work because they permitted the unsafe operation of their conveyor system by having the end of the cylinder exposed and failed to take the conveyor system off line when Haines was working, the suit states.

United States Steel Company and McKee also failed to use ordinary care and caution for Haines's safety because they failed to barricade or cover the exposed end of the conveyor cylinder, Haines claims.

In the two-count suit, Haines is seeking a judgment in excess of $100,000 and a further amount of money that will reasonably and fairly compensate him for his injuries.

Thomas Q. Keefe, Jr., of Belleville will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 08-L-1117.

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