Coroner says crane accident kills International Paper employee

Monday, Feb. 2, 2009 8:27 AM
Last updated Monday, Jan. 11, 2010 3:49 PM
  • Follow Latest News

An International Paper wood yard employee was killed Monday morning when he was struck by a timber loading crane, Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten said in a press release this morning.

Bill Drake, 66, was struck by the metal cage of the crane while attempting to clear wood debris along train tracks, according to the release.

Mr. Drake fell forward for an unknown reason toward the tracks. The crane has both audio and visual warning devices, which were working at the time of the accident. He was pronounced dead at the scene around 7:45 a.m.

He was an employee of the paper mill for 43 years, said Jessica Savage, communications manager of the company.

“It’s a huge loss,” Ms. Savage said. “We’re very shocked and saddened by this event.”

Local, state and federal agencies are currently on the scene at the plant located at 4278 Mike Padgett Highway.

The accident is also under investigation by the U.S. Occupational Health & Safety Administration, an arm of the U.S. Labor Department that focuses on workplace safety and related issues.

OSHA spokesman Mike Wald of the agency’s Region 4 office in Atlanta said the company reported the accident to federal authorities early today, as the law requires.

“By law, companies must report to OSHA whenever there is a fatality or an incident in which three or more workers are hospitalized.”

Although Mr. Wald did not yet have any additional details on the accident, he said an officer from the agency’s Compliance, Safety & Health section will be sent to International Paper to begin investigating the incident.

“They’ll be looking to determine whether the company has violated any OSHA standards,” he said.

Such investigations must be completed within six months. “They can finish it sooner, but they have up to six months,” he said. Such inquiries become public only upon completion.

According to a searchable online OSHA database, the International Paper plant on Mike Padgett Highway has a good safety record with no reported serious accidents during the last five years.

Since 2004, the plant was inspected twice in response to complaints, the records show. One inspection in 2005 yielded fines totaling $4,250 – including a $500 fine for a minor violation and a $5,000 fine for a “serious” violation involving “guarding floor and wall openings” that was later settled for $3,750.

A 2008 inspection yielded no fines or violations.

Comments (7) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
malachi72
10
Points
malachi72 02/02/09 - 12:19 pm
0
0
My prayers go out to the

My prayers go out to the family regardless of who is at fault

Hephzibah44
0
Points
Hephzibah44 02/02/09 - 02:29 pm
0
0
My son works at International

My son works at International Paper. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

ottobd
0
Points
ottobd 02/02/09 - 03:20 pm
0
0
My thoughts and prayers go

My thoughts and prayers go out to Cheryl, Roy, Linda, and their families.

rktk1990
0
Points
rktk1990 02/02/09 - 05:32 pm
0
0
As an employee of

As an employee of International Paper, my deepest heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. May God comfort and sustain you. God Bless!

poke-check
0
Points
poke-check 02/02/09 - 05:46 pm
0
0
Billy Drake was a wonderful

Billy Drake was a wonderful man and a dear family friend. This is a tremendous loss. I've known he and his family for over 20 and am in total shock over this situation. My prayers go out to Cheryl, Wade, Ponda and all the grandchildren. There was not a more kind and generous man around. I am deeply saddened by this event.

GnipGnop1
2
Points
GnipGnop1 02/02/09 - 09:48 pm
0
0
Worked with Bill for over 20

Worked with Bill for over 20 years. Great guy and always had a smile on his face. Took fire training with him and we had a funny story we always shared whenever we saw each other. I will miss him a lot. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

tbluangel38
0
Points
tbluangel38 02/03/09 - 04:57 pm
0
0
I would like too let Mrs.

I would like too let Mrs. Drake, Wade, Ponda, and the rest of the family to know that they are in my prayers I was so sorry to hear what happened. Mr. Drake was a good man and I know he will be greatly missed by everyone.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Mother tries to conceal newborn's birth

Cierra Y'Kesia Simms, 22, initially told Richmond County Sheriff's deputies about 7 a.m. Wednesday that she had discovered the baby on the ground behind the Masonic Temple on Wrightsboro Road, ...
Search Augusta jobs