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Lockheed Martin liable under federal law for engineer’s drowning

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

The widow of a Lockheed Martin test engineer who drowned in Cayuga Lake when he fell from a company barge settled a lawsuit against the company for an undisclosed amount.

The widow sued under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). She alleged unsafe conditions existed on the day her husband drowned, including two- to three-foot waves, the lack of life preservers and other onboard safety equipment and inadequate rescue training for key personnel. The boat was equipped with a single life ring.

Lockheed Martin argued that the LHWCA didn’t apply because the engineer, working on an anchored barge in an unnavigable lake, was not engaged in maritime work.

The court disagreed. It ruled that the federal protections apply to employees working on any floating apparatus.

Tip: If you have employees working around water, make sure you have all the required safety procedures and equipment in place—and make sure you are adequately insured.

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