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USS files suit vs. steamfitting contractor

Keywords: Tags  U.S. Steel, Power Piping, steamfitting, pipefitting, coke plant, Clairton Works, B battery, metallurgical coke production Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

NEW YORK — U.S. Steel Corp. has sued a pipefitting contractor for more than $6.9 million in damages following a 2010 explosion at its coke plant in Clairton, Pa.

The steelmaker claims that Power Piping Co., a Pittsburgh-based contractor hired to provide steamfitting work at Clairton, is responsible for expenses and injuries following the July 2010 blast at the coke plant’s "B" battery, according to documents filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pa.

The explosion allegedly occurred while Power Piping was in the midst of repair and installation work at the coke battery, the documents said.

U.S. Steel, Pittsburgh, has spent "substantial" sums of money investigating the blast, which injured six of its employees and five Power Piping employees and caused "extensive" physical damage to the site, including "destruction of walls and various instrumentation in and around the pre-heater area at ‘B’ battery," the company said in the court filing.

U.S. Steel put total costs at about $6.97 million, which includes about $4 million in repairs for damaged property, more than $2 million in workers’ compensation payments and more than $966,000 for the investigation and defense of alleged Occupational Health and Safety Administration violations.

Furthermore, "U.S. Steel expects the initial claims for damages in the personal injury lawsuits to be in the millions of dollars," the complaint said.

According to a July 2006 contract signed by the two companies, Power Piping had agreed to repair or replace damaged property and was responsible for the safety of workers at the site, U.S. Steel said.

A U.S. Steel spokeswoman declined to comment, citing pending litigation. Power Piping could not be reached.

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