Stay safe, Boeing
Most of the recent Boeing news has been good. Three more 787 Dreamliners were delivered last month in Washington — as many as airline customers got in all of last year — and the North Charleston 787 plant announced Wednesday that it will roll out its historic first jet on April 27.
But putting a damper on the good news have been reports out of Everett, Wash., about the human costs behind the plane progress.
On Feb. 3, a Boeing employee there became entangled in a rolling Dreamliner’s wheels, according to The Seattle Times. Josh Divers’s legs had to be partially amputated.
On March 19, another Boeing employee got trapped in the wing flap of a 747, crushing his lungs, according to The Herald newspaper in Everett. Stan Sprague was on a ventilator for 13 days but recovered enough to return home Thursday.
At a March 28 news conference to mark his release from the hospital, Divers seemed upbeat and said he would like to return to work at Boeing. In media interviews last week, Sprague, too, said he is eager to get back to building airplanes.
All of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, including its South Carolina campus, held a routine “stand down” last month to remind employees about the improtance of safety.
It’s unclear if anything similarly catastrophic has happened in North Charleston. Boeing is not required to report an incident unless someone dies or three or more people are taken to the hospital. And the more than 6,000-odd workers at the North Charleston campus are not members of a union, which would be another reporting channel.
The Post and Courier has gotten word of one local incident: a contractor spent two days in the hospital in December after a piece of tooling fell and hit him. But the company declined to give any more details at the time of the incident or since.
Boeing clearly emphasizes workplace safety, but with thousands of people making hundreds of planes, injuries are bound to happen.