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Industrial accident kills driver at Crofton mill


December 15, 2014
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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A contract truck driver who delivered wood chips to Catalyst Paper’s Crofton mill was found dead in a chip silo on Dec. 11. The driver, Perry Vernon Thomas, was reported missing on the evening of Dec. 9, at which time the mill activated…

A contract truck driver who delivered wood chips to Catalyst Paper’s Crofton mill was found dead in a chip silo on Dec. 11. The driver, Perry Vernon Thomas, was reported missing on the evening of Dec. 9, at which time the mill activated its Emergency Response Plan. The RCMP and WorkSafe BC were contacted and launched an investigation at the mill site.

Thomas’ body was later recovered from a silo which is connected to a conveyor belt where Thomas was delivering his load.

Joe Nemeth, president and CEO of Catalyst Paper, commented: “We are all saddened by this tragic accident. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family and friends during this difficult time.” 

Cpl. Jon Stuart of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP, quoted in The Cowichan Valley Citizen, said officers at the scene “determined that there was enough to support the belief that the driver had been taken by a conveyor belt, and carried into one of the storage silos.” Stuart also said, “There is nothing to suggest a criminal act at this time.”

WorkSafe BC is leading the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident to determine cause. The RCMP and the Coroner’s Office are also investigating. Catalyst’s personnel are fully supporting the investigations.