CHARLESTON - A Webster County man has filed a suit against a coal company after he was electrically shocked and fell off a breaker box while working at a mine.

Robert Woods filed a suit Aug. 28 in Kanawha Circuit Court against ICG Eastern, LLC and International Coal Group.

According to the suit, Woods was working on a dragline at the Birch River Mine in Webster County on March 13, 2006. He claims he was helping the electrician troubleshoot an electrical problem.

According to the suit, Woods was neither trained nor legally authorized to do the work assigned to him and was not legally permitted to be around the high voltage transformer room.

However, he was approximately seven feet off the ground on top of an oil-filled breaker in the transformer room during the process.

Woods claims that during the troubleshooting process, the power cables and terminal connections were not properly grounded on the oil-filled circuit breaker or on the transformer. Also, the visual disconnect device in the transformer room or at the substation was not de-energized, locked and tagged prior to Woods performing electrical work, the suit says.

After the task was completed, Woods began to climb off the circuit breaker box because his ladder had been removed.

"(Woods') right hand came in contact with the front energized high-voltage connection point on the oil-filled breaker causing him to be electrocuted," the suit says. Woods fell almost seven feet to the ground.

As a result of the elecric shock and the fall, Woods suffered first and second degree burns on his hands, fingers, chest, leg and scrotal area; an injury to his left shoulder; sprain and strain on his back; other pain and impairments, as well as side effects of the electric shock.

Woods claims ICG is negligent by allowing an unsafe condition to exist, which presented a high degree of risk.

Woods seeks compensatory damages for physical injuries, mental anguish and emotional distress, annoyance, aggravation and inconvenience; impairment of his capacity to enjoy life; lost wages; medical expenses and other damages.

Attorney Roger D. Forman is representing Woods. The case has been assigned to Judge Paul Zakaib.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-1827

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