A millwright killed while on the job at the Plateau Mill in Vanderhoof has been identified and a preliminary investigation released.
George Park Jr., of Kamloops, B.C., was the maintenance worker who died in what appears at this point to be a tragic accident.
He was an independent subcontractor to Nechako Construction (a division of the BID Group) and his family has done work for the BID Group for years, according to BID CEO Brian Fehr.
“I know his dad and his two brothers have worked for me and I’ve talked to all of them today,” said Fehr.
While only preliminary, it appears the death, which happened early in the morning on Thursday, May 3, was the result of an unsecured gate.
While on shift at the mill doing some routine scheduled maintenance welding on two conveyor belts, the millwright had shut off power and the hydraulics on the two machines.
However, a heavy gate which separated sections of the machines was not properly secured in addition to the hydraulics being shut off, and with gravity, it appears it may have fallen over onto the worker and crushed him between the gate and the wall of the conveyor.
“That’s preliminary, but that’s what I’m hearing tonight,” said Fehr.
The accident took place sometime between 3:30 a.m. when Park commenced the work and 4 a.m. when he failed to appear for a lunch break and coworkers went to locate him, finding him under the gate.
Further investigation will be taking place to confirm these findings. WorkSafeBC, RCMP and BC Coroner’s Service were on site on May 3 to assess the site and interview workers on shift during the accident.
So far, interviews with coworkers suggest the gate had been secured in previous maintenance activities.
BID has committed to meeting with workers to review the findings of the incident with workers in additional safety meetings.