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Texas Worker Killed in Tragic Fall at Port Neches Shipyard

A Texas worker died tragically last Saturday afternoon, following an industrial accident at a shipyard in Port Neches.

Sterling Shipyard Worker Fell onto Tugboat

Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of an accident with injuries at Sterling Shipyard, 906 Main Street in Port Neches, just before 1:00 p.m. on February 22nd.

The employee had apparently fallen onto a tugboat at the dry dock. He was rushed to the Medical Center of Southeast Texas, but died shortly after arriving.

Authorities later identified the victim as a 60-year-old man from Winnie, Texas.

So far, it’s not clear where the worker was before the accident or what might have caused him to fall. The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating, but it’s not known when that probe might conclude.

Sterling Shipyard History of OSHA Violations

Opened in January 2009, Sterling Shipyard offers construction, maintenance, and repair services for all manner of vessels. The Port Neches facility houses two dry docks, one with a 1,350-ton capacity and a second with a 900-ton capacity.

In September 2014, OSHA cited Sterling Shipyard and proposed fines in excess of $300,000 for 16 serious, repeat,  and failure-to-abate violations that exposed workers to safety hazards, including dangerous machinery, high noise levels without appropriate hearing protection, and falls from heights above 6 feet.

“By failing to abate violations cited from an earlier inspection, Sterling chose to ignore worker safety and expose employees to hazards that could lead to illness, injury or death. OSHA will not tolerate such negligence,” Mark Briggs, OSHA’s area director in the Houston South Area Office, said at the time.

Why is Shipyard Work so Dangerous?

Approximately 165,000 workers are employed at shipyards in the United States.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Health & Safety, 45 shipyard workers died on the job from 2011 through 2017. Nearly 61,600 nonfatal injuries/illnesses were reported during the same period, nearly twice the rate for all U.S. workers and one of the highest rates among maritime workers.

Some studies also suggest shipyard employees are more likely to die of cancer and suffer from higher rates of leukemia compared to other workers in the United Sates.

Most shipyard employees face daily chemical hazards, including exposures to asbestos, welding fumes, and a variety of paints, solvents, and fuels.  Other typical hazards include noise exposure, extreme temperatures, vibration, awkward body positions, and the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.

Hot work, confined space entry, exposure to hazardous air, and work done at height all increase the risk of injury. Many shipyard employees also work above water while a vessel is docked, creating a fall hazard that could lead to drowning.

Contact Our Undefeated Maritime Lawyers for a Free Case Review by Calling 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here

Our Undefeated Maritime Lawyers are investigating the fatal fall at Sterling Shipyard in Port Neches and will post an update if new information becomes available.

Having recovered billions for thousands of workers injured or tragically killed as a result of accidents and explosions at shipyards and other maritime facilities along the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, or Houston-based firm has the resources and experience to ensure our clients receive maximum compensation for all of their injuries and losses.

If you or a loved one were injured while working at a shipyard, please call 1-888-603-3636 or  click here to send us a confidential email through our “Contact Form.”

All consultations are free, and because we only represent clients on a contingency-fee basis, you’ll pay nothing unless we win your case.