Boeing investigating injury at N. Charleston plant
Boeing confirmed it is investigating how a worker suffered a bad fall at the North Charleston 787 Dreamliner plant this week but, citing the man’s privacy rights, did not offer any update on his condition Wednesday.
The man suffered critical injuries late Monday and was taken to Medical University Hospital, according to Charleston County EMS Director Don Lundy.
A hospital spokesman was unable to say how the man is faring.
“If you get us a name, I can check on the condition,” Tony Ciuffo, the spokesman, said Wednesday. “I have to have a name.”
A Boeing spokesman released a statement about the incident but declined to answer follow-up questions.
According to the statement, “a Boeing teammate was injured when he fell from a mobile platform in Composite Fabrication.” The term “teammate” implies the man was a direct employee rather than a contractor, and “Composite Fabrication” implies the fall happened in the aft-body factory Boeing bought from Vought Aircraft Industries and is now expanding.
“The safety and well being of our teammates is a top priority of Boeing South Carolina,” the statement continued. “In keeping with our comprehensive safety plan and internal processes, we are conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the incident and any corrective actions that might be required.”
It’s not known how many serious injuries there have been at the plant since its opening.
Boeing is not required to report an incident unless someone dies or three or more people are taken to a hospital. And the 6,000-odd workers at the campus near the airport are not members of a union, which would be another reporting channel.
But sometimes word gets out. The last incident Boeing confirmed came in December 2011 when a contractor at the local plane-making complex spent two days in a hospital after a piece of tooling fell and hit him.
Monday’s incident comes as the 787 fleet enters its third month on the ground. The Federal Aviation Administration prohibited 787 flights on Jan. 16 after a pair of smoky battery malfunctions.
That hasn’t affected the local plane-making complex, which is pressing ahead with production-rate increases while also now making sections of the stretch Dreamliner, the 787-9, Boeing’s top executive in South Carolina, Jack Jones, said Monday afternoon.
Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906 and follow him on Twitter at @kearney_brendan.