Two injured after workplace accident on York River barge

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Following an accident on a Corman Marine Construction barge on the York River Wednesday, a seriously injured patient was taken Wormley Creek Marina, pictured here. (Courtesy Google Maps)
Following an accident on a Corman Marine Construction barge on the York River Wednesday, a seriously injured patient was taken Wormley Creek Marina, pictured here. (Courtesy Google Maps)

An accident on a construction barge on the York River near Dominion’s Yorktown Power Station/Plains All-American Pipeline petroleum terminal has resulted in the hospitalization of two individuals. Both are considered in serious condition.

According to a news release from York County Fire and Life Safety, the incident occurred around 9:22 a.m. Wednesday.

Fire and rescue personnel responded to the accident, which involved two people working on a barge on the York River, near the petroleum terminal.

“It was a unique type of incident,” said Stephen Kopczynski, director of York County Department of Fire and Life Safety. “We know they were on a barge and we had to get a person off the barge.”

According to Joanna Hawkins, spokesperson for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the administration is conducting an inspection simultaneously with the U.S. Coast Guard to determine the cause of the accident. 

“Preliminary details are two employees working on a floating platform were struck and injured when an inflatable plug became dislodged from a floating pipe,” Hawkins said in an email. 

OSHA has up to six months to complete its investigation, Hawkins said. 

Kopczynski said the company conducting work was Corman Marine Construction based out of Baltimore. Calls to Corman Marine Construction were not immediately returned Wednesday

Corman Marine Construction has a history with OSHA. In January, the company was referred to OSHA over a safety concerns, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Labor. The case was opened and closed the same day. 

Dominion Virginia Power had subcontracted out the company to complete a project near the Dominion Power Generation Station, Hawkins said. 

According to U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Nate Littlejohn, Coast Guard investigators responded to the scene following the accident and determined it would be handled by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and/or York County Fire and Life Safety.

Laurie Naismith, spokesperson for the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, said the investigation into the incident is being led by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as it is considered a workplace accident.

According to the York County Fire and Life Safety release, by the time their responders were first notified of the incident, one patient was already being transferred to land by a private vessel. The other patient was still on the barge at the time.

The first patient was taken to Wormley Creek Marina, where fire and rescue personnel began treatment, while additional fire and rescue personnel responded in the department’s fire and rescue boat to the remaining patient on the barge, the release stated.

The second patient was brought to shore on the department’s vessel and subsequently transported with York County medics to a hospital, the name of which Kopczynski did not provide.

The condition of both patients was considered serious, Kopczynski said, but the department is unable to provide specific details, or cause of the incident.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.