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Cal-OSHA investigates fatal industrial accident at sawmill

Cal-OSHA, the California agency responsible for occupational safety, is investigating the death of a sawmill worker in the northern part of the state. The worker involved in the industrial accident was attempting to free some lumber that was stuck in the automatic debarking machine when his hand got pulled into the machine. Firefighters were rushed to the scene, but were unable to save the man’s life.

According to Cal-OSHA, this is not the first time a worker at the mill has been injured or even killed. Redwood Empire, which is under Pacific States Industries Inc., has an extensive history of accidents. Many of them involve the loss of fingers in the machinery. Back in 2008, another worker became entangled in a machine and died. Also in 2008, a large piece of equipment fell on a worker causing several serious injuries.

Two years prior to that, in 2006, a worker had two push arms dropped on him. Another worker during that same year had load of wood chips dumped on him. Most California employees are required to have a Injury and Illness Prevention Plan, and any violations found in the investigation of this latest death at the sawmill will need to be addressed in relation to that plan.

In the meantime, the family of the worker that was killed in this horrible industrial accident may find it advantageous to find out what workers’ compensation benefits they are entitled to under our state laws. The loss of a family member can be not only emotionally devastating, but also financially devastating. Knowing that there are benefits available to them may help the victim’s family with at least some of the stress caused by their loved one’s death.

Source:, “Worker killed in Cloverdale sawmill was trying to clear jammed machine,” Mary Callahan, April 11, 2013