The manufacturer of a guardrail system is being sued after a worker performing maintenance on a storage tank at the Wood River Refinery fell to his death approximately 40 feet below.

Dianne Edmund, on behalf of her son Bradley Edmund, filed suit against ConocoPhillips Co. and its managers Jay Churchill and Gina Nicholson, as well as storage tank and guardrail manufacturer Matrix Service, on March 12 in Madison County Circuit Court.

According to the complaint, Bradley Edmund had been contracted as a boilermaker on July 5, 2011, by Matrix Service Industrial Contractors, to perform work from a scaffold attached to the top of a storage tank.

The suit states that the scaffold had a guardrail system made up of two safety cables.

The top rail was 40 inches from the scaffold platform, and the mid rail was halfway between the top rail and the scaffold platform. There also was approximately two feet of unprotected space between the mid rail and the scaffold platform and "there was no toe board, screen or net installed to prevent objects from falling," the suit states.

"That Bradley Edmund collapsed onto the scaffold platform, rolled through the unprotected space between the mid rail and platform, and fell approximately forty feet to his death."

ConocoPhillips is blamed for failing to provide a safe scaffold, failing to require Matrix to provide a safe scaffold, failing to prevent Bradley Edmund from working on a scaffold it knew or should have known was unsafe and failing to prevent Matrix from requiring Bradley Edmund from working on a scaffold it knew or should have known was unsafe.

The suit alleges that Matrix Services is strictly liable for producing a guard rail that lacked a toe board, screen or similar device to prevent fall hazards, and accuses the company of negligence for designing an unsafe scaffold system.

Dianne Edmund seeks in excess of $75,000 in damages per count in the five count suit.

She is represented by Thomas Q. Keefe, Jr. of Belleville.

St. Clair County case 12-L-313

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