Family sues grain facility for wrongful death

Farm Forum

OLIVIA, Minn. (AP) — The family of a worker who died in a fall at a grain facility in Buffalo Lake, Minn., has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Andrew Burnett, 28, of New Ulm, died Oct. 27, 2012, when he fell about 60 feet while working at the South Central Grain and Energy facility. Burnett’s family says he was wearing a body safety harness attached to a lanyard when he fell and that the lanyard and its parts were defective. Burnett was working outside on an auger motor at the time of the accident.

The lanyard was manufactured by Honeywell International of Delaware, doing business as Miller Safety System. Both are defendants in the lawsuit filed in District Court in Renville County and deny the allegations in their response to the lawsuit.

Honeywell asserts the possibility that the damage was the result of negligence of third persons, ‘‘including plaintiff decedent, over whom Honeywell had no control and for whom it is not legally liable, and whose fault must be incorporated with that of all other potentially liable persons,’’ according to the West Central Tribune.

The lanyard included a rebar hook manufactured by Pen Safe Inc., a firm in Ontario, Canada, which has been producing fall arrest equipment for more than 50 years. It has been named a second party defendant in the lawsuit. Al Payne, Pen Safe general manager, said he was not directly involved in the lawsuit and declined to comment.