ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Three former construction workers have filed a lawsuit saying “ridiculous” working conditions at an Alaska chemical building resulted in brain damage.
The suit was filed against oilfield service company Baker Hughes, and cites unsafe conditions in 2014 at a Kenai chemical transferring building, KTVA-TV reported Tuesday.
Former co-workers Steve Adams and Chris Lovely said a vent near their working area spewed toxic gasses at them.
Lovely said after taking the job, his dark hair fell out in clumps and grew back blonde and thin. Adams said it’s rare for his hands to stop shaking.
“That was the biggest mistake of my life was to take that job,” Lovely said.
The men were employed by Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation, which was contracted by Baker Hughes to build a new building. The men smelled the gasses for months, but remember a specific day in May 2014 that was the worst, they said.
“It felt like 500 bees were stinging me in the face, it was so caustic,” Adams said. “I took my glove and held it on (to my face and) screamed ‘Chris!'”
A Baker Hughes subsidiary company was fined $1,050 by the Office of Safety and Health Administration after an investigation into the emissions.
Baker Hughes declined to comment, stating that a motion it filed to prevent pre-trial publicity prevents it from doing so.
The company is trying to get the suit thrown out under a law called the VECO Act, which says if you get workers compensation, you can’t sue the owner of the property. The judge should rule on that in the next month. If the suit doesn’t get thrown out, the case will go to trial in January.
Adams and Lovely said they’ve each racked up medical bills costing more than $1 million.
“It makes me really dizzy and the walls shake back and forth when I walk down a narrow path. I haven’t gone to the grocery store in nearly three years because of that,” Lovely said. “Everyone I’ve talked to, besides the opposing doctors, you know how that goes, said, ‘That’s it, that’s game over for you, that’s a wrap.'”
Information from: KTVA-TV, http://www.ktva.com