Feds investigating Dixfield millworker's death

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DIXFIELD — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating possible workplace safety violations at the Irving Forest Products sawmill, after an employee was killed there Saturday morning, a federal official said.

Christopher M. Pineau, 38, of Canton, died while performing maintenance on a log crane in the mill yard, according to Jerome Pelletier, vice president of sawmills for Irving Forest Products in Maine.

Pineau had worked at the mill at 24 Hall Hill Road since 2013.

Ted Fitzgerald, regional director for public affairs for the U.S. Department of Labor, confirmed that OSHA opened an investigation Saturday.

“OSHA will gather necessary information to determine which standards apply and whether or not the employer complied with them,” he said.

Keith said representatives from OSHA and J.D. Irving were at the site over the weekend.

The investigation could take up to six months.

Mary Keith, a representative of parent company J.D. Irving of Canada, said the company will not comment on the incident until the investigation is complete, and that they intend to cooperate fully.

The company was charged with two violations of the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Act, after employee William Gregg, 52, suffered a head injury at the Sussex, New Brunswick, mill in February 2016 and died later.

According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,190 deaths caused by workplace incidents in the United States in 2016; 18 of them in Maine. 

Of the 5,190 deaths, 2,083 occurred from transportation incidents and 761 were from contact with objects or equipment.

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The Irving Forest Products sawmill on Hall Hill Road in Dixfield is being checked by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, after a worker was killed there Saturday. (Liz Marquis/Sun Journal)

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