Worker, 53, killed at Northern Alberta pulp mill

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A 53-year-old independent contractor has died at a pulp mill in northern Alberta.

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In a statement, Mercer International Inc. that the death occurred Saturday at the Peace River Pulp Mill and that the company has launched an investigation into the contractor’s death.

“We are saddened by the loss of life of one of our contractor’s employees and our thoughts are with the person’s family and colleagues. An investigation into the accident has been launched and we are working with authorities and the contracting company to find out how this tragic incident could have happened,” said Roger Ashfield, Mercer Peace River president in the statement.

“Mercer’s emergency procedures were immediately activated and our industrial safety and health personnel were called in for support.”

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RCMP said officers responded to the factory at 1:50 a.m. and deemed the man’s death non-criminal. Occupational safety has taken over the investigation.

David Ure, senior vice president of finance for Mercer, confirmed that the employee was part of a contracting company that was doing site work in connection with a planned plant maintenance shutdown.

“This is typically a two to three week annual procedure that often requires significant specialized and additional services from outside our organization,” Ure said.

Mercer is a global producer of forest products, bioproducts and green electricity, with operations in Canada, Germany, the United States and Australia.

Peace River is located about 490 kilometers northwest of Edmonton.

ajunker@postmedia.com

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