OHS Canada Magazine

Worker dies in accident at Alberta pulp and paper mill

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December 1, 2015
By Jeff Cottrill

Compliance & Enforcement Health & Safety alberta fatal accident Forestry occupational health and safety Pulp & Paper RCMP workplace fatality

Employee, 23, caught in equipment while installing handrail

(Canadian OH&S News) — A 23-year-old worker was killed in an accident involving equipment at a pulp and paper mill in Hinton, Alta. on the late afternoon of Nov. 23, according to information from the province’s occupational health and safety authorities.

The Alberta Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour said that the incident had occurred at about 5 p.m. that day. Both the Hinton detachment of the RCMP and oh&s officers from the Ministry were called to the West Fraser Pulp and Paper Mills, operated by Hinton Pulp, to investigate the scene of the fatality.

“A 23-year-old who was working for a company called Winfield Industrial Sales and Service Ltd. was installing a handrail on a tower at the pulp mill at the facility,” explained Ministry spokesperson Christine Wronko. “He became entangled in a piece of equipment and subsequently died as a result of his injuries.”

Wronko noted that oh&s officials with the Ministry were still investigating the accident. “We put a stop-work order in effect for that area of the facility,” she said, adding that the rest of the mill remained operational while the order was in effect.

“The investigation is ongoing.”


The Hinton RCMP did not respond to COHSN’s request for an interview before press time.

Hinton Pulp general manager Brian Grantham confirmed the victim’s name as Dean Smith. He also said that Winfield is a small Hinton contractor that provides services to the West Fraser mill, but could not provide further details on the situation.

“I can’t comment on an open investigation at this time,” said Grantham.

A source with Winfield offered condolences on behalf of the company to Smith’s family and friends.

“We’re deeply saddened by his passing,” the source said. “We’re fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation and just continuing to support our employees.”

Media reports have stated that Smith decided to work in welding after being laid off from work as heavy-duty mechanic. Smith reportedly left a wife and infant son behind.

Although most specific details about this incident are still unavailable, it is worth nothing the advice of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), based in Hamilton, Ont., regarding safe work with milling machines.

“Do not wear gloves, rings, watches or loose clothing. Tie back long hair,” CCOHS states on its website. “Do not make any adjustments while the machine is running… Do not move the operating levers without knowing what they control and what action is going to take place.”


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