Board: warehouseman on fixed platform covered

by Matthew H. Ammerman on July 1st, 2015

Luigi Malta worked for Wood Group as an offshore warehouseman at the Black Bay Central Facility, a fixed platform located in Louisiana state territorial waters. Supplies and equipment kept at the Central Facility platform were loaded onto vessels and shipped to the satellite platforms. A substantial part of Malta’s work duties involved loading and unloading vessels from the platform, and he was injured in the process of unloading a vessel at the platform. Malta v. Wood Group Production Svs., BRB No. 14-0312 (May 29, 2015)(published).

Work on fixed platforms in territorial waters is not LHWCA-covered because fixed platforms are considered artificial islands. Herb’s Welding, Inc. v. Gray, 470 U.S. 414 (1985). However, Malta’s case presented a unique set of facts because he did not work on a fixed oil production platform. The Central Facility platform functioned as an offshore dock and staging area. The platform was equipped with 3 cranes, and vessel loading and unloading of cargo – equipment and supplies -- was a regular activity at the platform.

Work on traditional fixed oil production platforms should not be covered. An adjoining area must be “customarily used” for loading or unloading a vessel to be a LHWCA situs. According to the Fifth Circuit, for example, routine activity of assisting in tying the vessel or loading or unloading one’s tools and personal gear at a platform are not meaningful job responsibilities for application of the LHWCA. Bienvenu v. Texaco, Inc., 164 F.3d 901, 908 (5th Cir. 1999).

Posted in Situs    Tagged with Longshore situs



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