State agency finds no safety violations after Boeing fatality

By Matt Tomsic
mtomsic@scbiznews.com
Published July 30, 2013

David Priester, a Boeing employee who died from a work-related accident in March, fell from a platform about 15 minutes before his shift ended.

That detail and others were released by the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration today, which also provided recommendations that Boeing South Carolina provide refresher training for employees who work on the platform that Priester fell from and provide lights on a control panel to alert workers when there’s an issue with the platform’s sliders. The state agency found no safety violations at the North Charleston site in its investigation of Priester’s death.

State OSHA provided its recommendations to Boeing in a July 26 letter. The office is a division of the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

The agency also released more details about Priester’s accident. On March 18, Priester and three other Boeing employees were working on the Cell 90 platform and putting plastic in the seams of the aft portion of a 787. They had come back from their last break at 9:30 p.m. and were finishing their work before a shift change one hour later.

One of the workers pulled the platform’s sliders away from the fuselage so they could rotate the aft portion of the plane. When the worker moved the sliders back into place, one slider wouldn’t extend to the fuselage, leaving a gap in the platform.

All of the employees saw that the slider was not working, the report said.

They continued bagging the fuselage, until one of the employees saw Priester fall between the gap in the sliders. Priester fell about 18 feet, landing on the concrete floor. On-site first responders arrived within five minutes, and Charleston County EMS also responded. Eleven days later, Priester died at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Previous coverage

State agency investigating death of Boeing S.C. employee

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