Processing Magazine

Paper Employee''s Death Classified as Industrial Accident

August 31, 2010
The death of a Clearwater Paper employee is described as an industrial accident in a report by the Nez Perce County Sheriff''s Office obtained through a records request by the Lewiston Tribune. The fatality of John A. Bergen III, 35, is still under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Bergen was a 10-year veteran of Clearwater Paper''s Lewiston mill at the time of the accident. Bergen was working at a control panel when paper got stuck in machinery. He went to help two employees who were on either side of the machinery trying to clear the jam, according to the report. "It appeared that Bergen was cutting the paper off of a large roll when he fell through an access door that is approximately six feet long by two and a half feet wide," according to the report. "When he fell through the access door, he apparently hit his head." He was carried down a large conveyor belt and fell into a 15,000-gallon vat of pulp that Clearwater Paper employees told the sheriff''s department had a temperature of 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the report. Employees tried to rescue Bergen, according to the report. Bergen was found in the vat, which had just finished draining, next to an access hatch. Clearwater Paper firefighters attempted CPR but were unable to revive him, according to the report.