The estate of a Linden millwright worker, who was killed inside a power plant’s condenser-unit fan that switched on while he servicing it, agreed to accept a $2.6 million settlement from the operators of the plant.
The estate’s attorney, Peter Chamas, gave this account of the accident: The plaintiff was employed by Englishtown-based Fresh Start Millwrighting, which provided maintenance services at a co-generation facility in Linden owned by Cogen Technologies Linden Venture, L.P. and operated by General Electric and two related entities. The plaintiff and his foreman asked a GE employee to “lock out and tag out” two fans on which they were about to provide maintenance, de-energizing the 30-foot fans to keep them from automatically turning on, as they were programmed to do in response to temperature fluctuations.
The employees locked out and tagged out two fans but one of these was the wrong fan, leaving one of the fans to be serviced still active. The plaintiff serviced the deactivated fan without mishap. While descending a ladder into the cell of the second fan, the one that had not been locked out and tagged out, the fan turned on, striking the ladder, knocking it out from under him and leaving him suspended from a harness, causing him to fall about 85 feet to the catch basin below. He died on the spot from massive head injuries.
A Rutgers University economist retained by plaintiff calculated the economic loss to the family as $1.7 million, reported wrongful death lawyer Chamas.
Chamas, a partner at Woodbridge’s personal injury law office Gill and Chamas, expected that the settlement would be used to purchase annuities for the survivors, who include two daughters, ages 13 and 15 at the time of the settlement. The settlement was to be approved by Judge Nicholas Stroumtsos.