Boeing fined for safety in 787 towing injury

EVERETT — Boeing Co. workers violated workplace safety laws when an airplane rolled over an employee at the Everett plant on Feb. 3, according to a state report released Friday.

The state Department of Labor &Industries investigated the company after Josh Divers, then 30, of Everett, was run over by a 787 that was being towed.

Divers was dragged about 12 feet, he told reporters in March. His feet were crushed and both legs later had to be amputated below the knee.

L&I on Friday announced it has proposed a $3,600 fine against Boeing. The conditions leading to the violation have been corrected, according to L&I.

Boeing does not plan to appeal the fine, spokeswoman Kate Bergman said in an email Friday.

“Boeing is committed to maintaining a safe workplace,” she said. “Every single day, and especially when incidents like this occur, we carefully examine our processes and take the steps necessary to enhance safety.”

L&I investigators found that the company did not supervise or enforce an effective accident prevention program before the Feb. 3 incident, according to the report.

At the time of the accident, a team of employees was towing a Boeing 787 along a taxiway at Paine Field. A supervisor, the state said, told workers to deviate from the company’s aircraft towing procedures. People assigned to walk at the wings and tail, to watch for problems, were told to go elsewhere.

That meant they couldn’t monitor the safety of others or signal for the tow to stop in case of an emergency, L&I determined.

That is a “serious” violation, the agency said.

L&I also found inadequate lighting along the taxiway for towing the airplane. That is considered a less serious violation and did not lead to a penalty.

The L&I report doesn’t provide additional details about the incident.

Boeing generally doesn’t provide more than basic details about industrial accidents, citing privacy concerns for victims.

The company also conducted an extensive internal investigation and changed procedures for towing aircraft, Bergman said.

“In addition, we strive for continuous improvement of our processes to ensure the safety and wellbeing of every employee who works at our sites,” she said.

The Feb. 3 incident was one of two high-profile injury accidents at Boeing this year.

A Lake Stevens Boeing mechanic, Stan Sprague, then 35, was hospitalized for about two weeks after being trapped in a 747 wing flap on March 19.

That investigation is ongoing, L&I spokeswoman Elaine Fischer said Friday.

Emergency crews also converged at the Everett plant in June after a tanker truck and a train collided on Boeing property. No one was injured in that accident.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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