22-year-old dies in Marathon fall

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 28, 2009


GARYVILLE — Federal authorities continued their investigation Monday into what caused a 22-year-old Texas contract worker to fall to his death Thursday at the Marathon Oil Refinery in Garyville.

Jeremy Nuspliger, an employee of Performance Contractors Inc. of Baton Rouge, was engaged in construction activities pertaining to the oil company’s $3.2 billion expansion at the Garyville site when the accident occurred sometime around 11:45 p.m., said Marathon spokesman Robert Calmus.

Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have been on site since the accident investigating what happened “in an effort to prevent future accidents like this from happening.” He said authorities with Marathon are also conducting their own investigation into the fatal fall.

St. John Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dane Clement said deputies that arrived on the scene immediately following the accident did not conduct a criminal investigation because no suspicious activity took place.

Thursday’s fatal accident comes on the heels of a pipeline blast at a Marathon facility in St. James Parish in early March that claimed the life of another contract worker from Texas and injured six other men. Calmus said that facility stores and transports crude oil, which is then sent to the Garyville facility to be refined into gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene.

Both accidents pertained to the refinery expansion, which began construction in 2007 and is scheduled for completion sometime this year. Once it is complete, the expansion, which will increase production at the refinery by about 180,000 barrels and add about 7.5 million gallons a day to the nation’s transportation fuel supply, will make the refinery the fourth largest in the nation.

Calmus said the portion of the construction site where the accident took place had been shut down since Thursday while the investigation was conducted, but officials with OSHA allowed the work area to re-open Monday. Calmus would not speculate on whether the incident would affect the expansion project.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family at this time,” Calmus said.