Petition for Review of an Order of the Benefits Review Board
CLEMENT, DUNCAN, and OLDHAM, Circuit Judges.
KYLE DUNCAN, CIRCUIT JUDGE:
Malta was injured while unloading a vessel on a fixed
platform in the territorial waters of Louisiana. Malta made a
claim against his employer, Wood Group Production Services
(Wood Group), under the Longshore and Harbor Workers'
Compensation Act. To enjoy coverage under the Act, a claimant
must show both that he was in a place covered by the Act
(situs) and that he was engaged in maritime employment
(status). The Benefits Review Board concluded that because
Malta-who spent 25 to 35 percent of his working hours
loading/unloading vessels-was injured while unloading a
vessel on a platform customarily used for that task, Malta
satisfied both the situs and status requirements. We deny
Wood Group's petition for review.
Group, which staffs personnel for clients in the oil and gas
industry,  employed Malta as a warehouseman for the
Black Bay Central Facility (Central Facility), a fixed
platform located in the territorial waters of
Louisiana. Central Facility provides support services
for oil and gas production occurring at various satellite
production platforms in the Helis Black Bay Field. Twenty-two
workers, including Malta, lived, worked, and slept at Central
Facility, which comprises four separate platforms, connected
by catwalks. A warehouse sits on one of these platforms, and
in it the workers stored supplies and tools necessary for
their sustenance and operations. Three cranes, located at
various parts of Central Facility, assisted the workers as
they loaded and unloaded these supplies from vessels, which
often came from Venice, Louisiana. When workers on the
satellite platforms required tools for their operations, the
necessary items were taken from the warehouse and loaded onto
vessels by crane. The vessels then travelled to the satellite
platforms with these supplies.
worked twelve hours each day-from sunup to sundown-seven days
per week at Central Facility (and then he would rest
shoreside for seven days). He never worked on any of the
satellite platforms. His primary duties included ordering,
receiving, and maintaining all supplies and equipment at the
Central Facility warehouse. It is undisputed that, although
not listed among his official job duties, a significant
portion of Malta's "hitch" (shift), was
dedicated to loading and unloading vessels arriving at and
leaving from Central Facility. Wood Group's project
manager, Ray Pitre, testified that this was a "big
part" of Malta's job. And Malta testified that he
spent roughly 25 to 35 percent of each hitch loading and
explained that he regularly would load/unload all sorts of
things into/from the vessels: "It can be anywhere from
piping to big valves, compressors, drinking water supplies,
various items, nothing in particular everyday. It's just
whenever we order and something is needed, [I] pull it off
the work barge or the water barge." Pitre similarly
testified that Malta would unload "a various assortment
of things from rags to repair parts to nitrogen cylinders to
valves and phalanges . . . [because] the oil industry uses
just a vast assortment of supplies." During a typical
12-hour hitch, if a group of workers on a "satellite
platform needed additional supplies and equipment,"
Malta "would help load the field boat." This
required Malta, "depending on exactly what it was [and]
how big it was, [to] put it on a basket, and send it down to
the boat and then off to the respective platform or field
operator." Malta testified that there was "no
difference" between his duties and those of "a dock
worker loading and unloading" vessels in Venice.
was injured when unloading a boat owned by a third party. He
received a call seeking help to offload something coming up
from the boats (which had come from one of the satellite
platforms). Malta did not go onto the vessel to retrieve the
item. Rather, it was "sent up to [him] via crane"
while he was standing on the platform in front of the
warehouse. As the basket was coming up, he "grabbed the
tag line, pulled it in[, ] and as the basket collapsed,"
Malta saw that the item was a CO2 cannister-which had been
mistakenly marked as empty. While Malta was removing the
cannister from the cargo basket, it exploded, and he was
made a claim for benefits against Wood Group under the
Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA or
Act), 33 U.S.C. § 901, et. seq. By way of
background, the Act "provides compensation for the death
or disability of any person engaged in 'maritime
employment, '" under certain conditions.
Herb's Welding, Inc. v. Gray, 470 U.S. 414, 415
(1985). Wood Group contested Malta's claim for benefits.
None of the facts was disputed, and the only question was
whether Malta was qualified to recover under the Act. After a
hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) initially ruled
against Malta, concluding "that [because] the fixed
platform on which [Malta] worked" was not covered under
the Act, there was no jurisdiction to consider his claim. In
light of this holding, the ALJ did not initially decide
whether Malta enjoyed maritime status under § 902 of the
Benefits Review Board (Board) reversed the ALJ's
decision, concluding the ALJ misapplied this court's
precedent and the plain language of the statute. It held that
Malta's "injury occurred on a covered situs"
and remanded the case so that the ALJ could address
remand, once again, none of the facts was in dispute. The
only question was whether Malta enjoyed maritime status. The
ALJ found that, because Malta "loaded or unloaded the
cargo from a ship or vessel, he was performing a traditional
maritime activity" and satisfied "the status
requirement of the Act." Wood Group appealed to the
Board, which affirmed the ALJ's decision.
exhausted its options before the Department of Labor, Wood
Group filed a petition for review with this court, arguing
that Malta cannot recover under the Act because he lacks
status and his injury did not occur on a covered situs. Both
Malta and the Director of the Office of Worker's
Compensation Programs filed briefs defending the Board's
"the facts are not in dispute"-as is true of this
appeal-then whether a worker is covered under the Act
presents a "pure question of law" that "is an
issue of statutory construction and legislative intent."
New Orleans Depot Servs., Inc. v. DOWCP (Zepeda),
718 F.3d 384, 387 (5th Cir. 2013) (quoting DOWCP v.
Perini N. River Assocs., 459 U.S. 297, 300, 305 (1983)).
Accordingly, we review the Board's decision de novo.
Group contends the Board erred by reversing the ALJ's
initial decision holding that Malta's injury failed to
satisfy the Act's situs requirement. The current form of
the situs requirement-found at § 903-says a claimant is
eligible for benefits
only if the disability or death results from an injury
occurring upon the navigable waters of the United States
(including any adjoining pier, wharf, dry dock, terminal,
building way, marine railway, or other adjoining area
customarily used by an employer in loading, unloading,
repairing, dismantling, or building a vessel).
33 U.S.C. § 903(a). Congress has tinkered with the situs
requirement. "Prior to 1972, the Act applied only to
injuries occurring on navigable waters. Longshoremen loading
or unloading a ship were covered on the ship and the
gangplank but not shoreward, even though they were performing
the same functions whether on or off the ship."
Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. Co. v. Schwalb, 493 U.S.
40, 46 (1989). The Supreme Court has said that the current
version of the situs requirement, which should be
"liberally construed," covers "all those on
the situs involved in the essential or integral elements of
the loading or unloading process." Id. The
Supreme Court has defined loading and unloading a vessel to
mean "taking cargo out of the hold, moving it away from
the ship's side, and carrying it immediately to a storage
or holding area." Ne. Marine Terminal Co. v.
Caputo, 432 U.S. 249, 266-67 (1977).
undisputed that Central Facility does not meet the definition
of "navigable waters" or any of the structures
enumerated in this section ("pier, wharf, dry dock,
terminal, building way, marine railway"). So, under the
language of the statute, Malta can recover only if his injury
occurred on an "other adjoining area customarily used by