Furnace-Explosion Victims Assail Penn. Plant

     PHILADELPHIA (CN) – Three steel plant workers burned with molten metal from a furnace explosion claim in court that their bosses “outrageously ignored” the equipment’s dangerous record, which included at least one prior death.
     Matthew McNeal, Sean Flood and Mark Tarloski sustained “debilitating injuries” when a batch of slag they had loaded into an Electric Arc Furnace D, or EAFD, at the ArcelorMittal plant in Coatesville, Pa., “exploded and spewed molten metal,” their complaint in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas states.
     The explosion allegedly left McNeal and Flood with second- and third-degree burns to various parts of their faces and bodies, while Tarloski suffered second-degree burns on his head and neck.
     While McNeal has burns covering 68 percent of his total body surface area, Flood’s burns cover 16 percent, the May 22 complaint says.
     The lawsuit accuses ArcelorMittal of continuing “to put workers in harm’s way,” even though the furnace’s dangers had been known to it “for years.”
     When the same furnace exploded in 2007, it caused “debilitating injuries to two workers and an agonizingly painful death to another worker,” the plaintiffs say.
     One of the survivors “has a severely burned quadriplegic,” according to the complaint.
     McNeal and the others say ArcelorMittal accepted responsibility for worker safety in ensuing litigation after the 2007 explosion, but still failed to make the furnace safer or take precautionary maintenance measures like checking for leaks or installing carbon detection devices, the lawsuit says.
     The explosion that burned the plaintiffs allegedly stemmed from “a reaction … in which excessive amounts of carbon oxidized and the batch exploded.”
     In addition to ArcelorMittal and its various entities, the 84-page complaint names 20 others as defendants, including General Electric Co., Westinghouse Electric Co. and Siemens Energy & Automation, which the plaintiffs say redesigned the furnace in the 1980s.
     Other defendants either designed component parts of the furnace or were in some way responsible for its manufacturing, maintenance or sale, according to the complaint.
     McNeal and the others accuse each of breaching the warranty for the furnace by delivering a product that was unsafe and unmerchantable. They allege negligence and strict liability.
     In addition to scarring and disfigurement, the workers say they have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and developed phobias of fire, among other psychological injuries.
     McNeal and Tarloski’s wives are also named as plaintiffs in the suit.
     Representatives from ArcelorMittal did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
     The plaintiffs are represented by Robert Mongeluzzi of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett and Bendesky and Richard Jurewicz of Galfand Berger.

%d bloggers like this: