Claimant, a mechanic charged with repairing and maintaining containers and chassis brought to his employer’s facility by shipping companies, injured his left wrist while closing a container door. Although Claimant received Florida workers’ compensation benefits, he asserted a claim for Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act benefits. The employer controverted on the grounds that Claimant was not a maritime employee and he was not injured on a maritime situs. The Benefits Review Board (“Board”) determined that Claimant held sufficient status to be a maritime employee, but that he was not injured on a maritime situs. Claimant satisfied the maritime employee status question because his “regular work involved keeping the containers in good repair for use in maritime commerce….” The fatal flaw in Claimant’s case, however, was the location of his work place. It is located over three miles away from the employer’s Blount Island facility. The Board determined that Claimant’s work place does not “have a geographical nexus with the Blount Island terminal on the St. Johns River: it is not adjacent to or in the vicinity of navigable water; its location was chosen based on general business factors; the Blount Island facility is three miles away; properties closer to Blount Island were rejected as unsuitable for employer’s purposes; and the businesses surrounding the Depot are not maritime.” As Claimant was unable to satisfy both the status and situs elements, he was not entitled to Longshore benefits.
(Note: I originally published this post on Navigable Waters: A Maritime, Longshore and Defense Base Act Blog.)