Jeffboat Maintenance Worker Crushed Against a Barge Dies

Posted in Barge Accidents,Jones Act,Kentucky Maritime News,Maritime Accidents on August 25, 2011

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN – A man who was employed as a maintenance worker by Jeffboat was killed Friday morning, Aug 19, at about 6:45 a.m. while trying to repair a machine called a “buggy” used to support and transport barges.

Jeffboat shipyards in Jeffersonville, Indiana along 5,600 feet of frontage on the Ohio River.

The victim was identified as Steve Duncan, 54, of Pekin, Indiana. Clark County Coroner Edwin Coots said that Duncan died of compressional asphyxia and blunt-force trauma. He is the third worker to die in an accident at the boat yard in about 16 months.

The coroner said Duncan was repairing the machine when it activated, raising him on its hydraulic jack and crushing him against a barge.

Map showing location of fatal maintenance worker accident in Jeffersonville, IN on Friday, August 19, 2011 while working on a barge.

Jeffboat, which is owned by American Commercial Lines, spans 68 acres of land and 5,600 feet of frontage on the Ohio River in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

American Commercial Lines issued a press statement that it was“deeply saddened by the loss of a member of our Jeffboat team, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his co-workers during this difficult time.”

Ben Zion Hershberg for writes:

Two employees died in accidents at Jeffboat within a week of each other in May 2010. Both workers fell to their deaths in those incidents.

In the wake of those deaths, the Indiana area office of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted three inspections last year, two shortly after the fatalities and one on May 24 in which 33 safety violations initially were reported and the company was assessed $55,905 in penalties. That later was trimmed to 31 violations, including 20 serious and two repeat violations, and the penalties were reduced to $53,155.

Kenneth Gilbert, OSHA’s area director for Indiana, said his department decided to conduct a facilitywide inspection at Jeffboat on May 24, 2010, because inspectors were in the area after the two fatalities. He said having more than 30 violations was not unusual for a facility as large as Jeffboat.

He said an inspector was at Jeffboat Friday to investigate the latest fatality but had no information yet. He said none of the other roughly 30 Indiana marine facilities his office inspects, which include boat building and repair facilities, port facilities and others, has had three fatalities in the last 16 months.

The company didn’t return several calls for comment on its safety record.

Ben Zion Hershberg can be reached at 812-949-4032.

Published by barge injury lawyer Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP