Boeing’s investigation of a fatal fall at the North Charleston 787 complex last month isn’t the only ongoing review of the incident.
The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration also is looking into what happened in building 88-19 on the night of March 18, according to the S.C. Department of Labor.
“Investigations generally take about eight weeks, and the investigator will be looking for any OSHA violations that may have in any way contributed to the incident,” agency spokeswoman Lesia Kudelka wrote in an email Monday.
The state review, which has already included a visit to the Boeing factory, is standard under such circumstances.
“S.C. OSHA investigates workplace accidents that result in death, unless those fatalities happen on federal property or over the water,” Kudelka wrote, adding the agency also “automatically investigates” workplace accidents that result in three or more people being hospitalized.
South Carolina is one of more than 20 states that administers its own occupational safety and health program through an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, she noted.
David Priester, a 38-year-old Summerville resident, died Friday morning at Medical University Hospital, a week and a half after falling off a platform in the local aft-fuselage factory. His funeral was Monday.
A Charleston native and father of two young daughters, Priester had worked on trains and cars before turning his attention to airplanes, according to the obituary his wife placed in The Post and Courier over the weekend.
He completed the aircraft assembly program at Trident Technical College and had recently begun work making the back-end composite sections for Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliners.
Boeing has not identified Priester but has released statements offering condolences to his family and friends and reiterating a commitment to safety.
“The safety and well being of our teammates is a top priority at Boeing,” the statements read. “In keeping with our comprehensive safety plan and internal processes, we are conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the incident and will take immediate action on any corrective actions that are required.”
Asked about the OSHA investigation, a Boeing spokeswoman referred only to the company’s review.
“Until that review is complete, it would inappropriate to speculate or attempt to draw conclusions,” Candy Eslinger, the spokeswoman, wrote in an email.
It’s unclear how many serious injuries there have been at the plant as Boeing is not required to report an incident unless someone dies or three or more people are taken to a hospital.
The last incident Boeing confirmed came in December 2011 when a contractor at the 787 complex spent two days in a hospital after a piece of tooling fell and hit him.
Kudelka said an OSHA investigator conducted an inspection at the factory complex at the time “based on a media referral” but issued no citations to either Boeing or the contractor.
Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906 and follow him on Twitter at @kearney_brendan.
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