Safety harness malfunctions, upending seaman, lawsuit claims

Michelle Keahey Sep. 12, 2011, 3:50am

A Mississippi seaman is suing his employer after he was injured when the safety harness he was using malfunctioned and he was upended.

Travis Tyler Stringer filed suit against Parker Drilling Company and Baker Hughes Inc. on Sept. 7 in federal court in New Orleans.

The alleged incident occurred on July 10, 2011 as Stringer was working for Baker Hughes aboard defendant Parker Drilling's Inland Drilling Barge, Rig 15. Stringer states it was necessary that he be lowered in a safety harness and during the process, the safety harness malfunctioned, causing Stringer to be upended. He suffered an injury to his cervical and lumbar spine.

Parking Drilling is accused of negligence for failing to provide Stringer with equipment that was in a reasonably safe condition, providing Stringer with equipment that was faulty or defective, operating the air hoist to lower the safety harness in an unsafe manner, failing to adequately and appropriately inspect the safety harness prior to its use, failing to stop the operation immediately when the safety harness initially malfunctioned, failing to appropriately, adequately and safely lower Stringer in the safety harness and failing to use a signal man during the operation.

Defendant Baker Hughes is accused of negligence for failing to provide a safe place to work, failing to adequately supervise the task being performed, failing to assigned a signal man during the lowering of Stringer in the safety harness and requiring Stringer and his crew to work an excessive number of hours and in an undermanned capacity.

The plaintiff is asking for more than $1.5 million in damages for medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional pain and suffering, loss of wages and loss of earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of economic horizons, interest and court costs.

Stringer is represented by Evette E. Ungar, George W. Byrne, Jr. and Cheryl L. Wild of Ungar & Byrne in New Orleans.

Case No. 2:11-cv-02232

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