Sunday, January 22, 2012

Parking Lot is Covered Longhsore Situs

Williams v. Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc., BRBS (2011).

The BRD recently held that the situs requirement was met where claimant's injury occurred on employer's parking lot located within the perimeter of employer's shipyard that is adjacent to navigable waters, albeit separated from the shipyard's working areas by a fence and a security gate.

Claimant, a nuclear pipe worker, fell and injured his shoulder in employer's North Yard Parking Lot. The parking lot is situated on the premises of employer's shipyard; however, it is separated from the working areas by a fence. It is owned and maintained by employer for use by its employees, Navy personnel, and contractors who have business with employer, and is used solely for parking. There is no access to navigable waters from the parking lot, and employees must swipe their badges at a security turnstile at one end of the lot to enter the production area.

The Board reasoned that the Fourth Circuit, within whose jurisdiction this case arose, has defined "adjoining area" under §3(a) as a discrete shoreside structure or facility that is similar to the enumerated areas, actually contiguous with navigable waters, and customarily used for maritime activity.   Here, employer's property extended from navigable waters to the outer edge of the parking lot. The Board concluded that "claimant's injury occurred in a shipbuilding area contiguous to navigable waters …."

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