Suit: Injured employee told to clean bailer while still running

David Yates Feb. 28, 2008, 4:27am

A QualiTech Maintenance employee has filed suit against Goodyear Tire, claiming he was instructed by a Goodyear manager to clean the company's bailer while the machine was running.

In his suit, filed on Feb. 27 in the Jefferson County District Court, Justin Bell injured his arm while cleaning the bailer. He claims he was instructed to clean the running machine even though Goodyear's policies prohibit such a dangerous action.

According to Bell's petition, on Feb. 7 he was employed by QualiTech Maintenance Inc. and was working at the Beaumont Goodyear plant when his arm got caught in a bailer.

"(Defendant) was responsible for operation of the bailer," the suit said. "Bell and his co-workers had been instructed by Goodyear, through its agents and employees, to clean the bailer when it was running.

"This was in direct violation of Goodyear's own lock-out/tag-out policy. Defendant Wayne Crawford, a Goodyear manager, instructed Plaintiff on multiple occasions to clean the bailer when it was running because according to Mr. Crawford the process could not be shut down for all the necessary cleaning."

The suit continues by alleging Goodyear was negligent for instructing Bell and his co-workers to clean the bailer while it was still running. "Goodyear was also negligent for failing to enforce the lock-out/tag-out procedure when it retained the control to shut down the bailer if the policy was not being followed."

Bell is suing for past and future mental anguish, medical expenses, disfigurement, impairment and loss of earning capacity.

He is represented by Jonathan Harris of the Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris law firm.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. B181-327

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