The man killed at Plateau Mills near Vanderhoof, early Thursday morning, has been identified as George Park, Jr. of Kamloops.
Park was apparently killed by a falling gate that was not properly secured. The investigation is in its early stages but Brian Fehr, president of the BID Group/Nechako Construction gave a preliminary overview of what likely happened.
"Official investigation outcomes are yet to be confirmed. Preliminary investigation information suggests the following," he said.
* Welding maintenance work was scheduled to be performed on two planer mill conveyor belts (dunnage conveyor and strip conveyor) which operate side by side.
* Prior to commencement of the work, as was required for safety, all power sources were locked out (ie. shut off).
* However, a diverter gate that separates the dunnage conveyer and the strip conveyer was not properly secured. While it was secured hydraulically, it was not additionally secured with a chain or “come along” to ensure it does not move.
* Preliminary interviews with co-workers reveal that the additional securing measure had been in place in past maintenance operations.
* Speculation is that the unsecured gate fell over and the worker was crushed between the gate and the conveyor wall.
According to Fehr, Park was at work and had filled out a permit document at 3:30 a.m. but failed to appear at 4 a.m. for a scheduled break. Co-workers went to check on him and discovered the scene.
"Preliminary interviews say the worker was already deceased," Fehr said.
On-site first aid attendants were the first to respond to the incident, followed by 911 responders. By dawn, the RCMP and Vanderhoof coroner were there as well, and were soon joined by representatives from WorkSafeBC, the BID Group and Canfor (owners of Plateau Mills).
Fehr said Park was an independent subcontractor "and had been performing maintenance work on behalf of the company at this site since November 2011."
BID Group's corporate safety officer Jody Volts has been assigned to do an internal investigation that will be both independent of and in co-operation with the investigation by WorkSafeBC, said Fehr.
"The same exercise will be performed separately by representatives from Canfor," he said. "Based on the various findings and reports, [Volts and I] will be conducting additional safety meetings for every crew and worksite to review the findings of this incident."
He said the results of their internal review would be made available once all other regulatory agencies had completed their respective reports.
"Once again, on behalf of the BID Group, we are heartbroken that a worker has lost his life and that a family has lost a love one," Fehr said.