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Worker Dies After Falling at International Paper

Augusta, Georgia, USA 23 June 2015 -- (From The Augusta Chronicle) -- OSHA representatives arrived at International Paper mill in Augusta early Tuesday to investigate the death of a Hephzibah man.

On Monday, Michael J. Hill, 44, died when he fell out of the cab of a crane that he was operating. Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen said he fell 50 to 70 feet before striking the ground and was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:05 p.m.

Mill Communications Manager Samantha Hood said the crane was a permanent-mounted model used in the wood yard to unload log trucks entering the mill.

Hill's body was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab in Atlanta for an autopsy scheduled for Wednesday.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was notified of the incident and arrived at the mill on Mike Padgett Highway on Tuesday morning, area director Bill Fulcher said.

"I'm sure something like this will take several days," he added.

In a statement on Tuesday, mill manager Dick Jackson recalled the victim.

"Mike was a valued and respected part of our Augusta team for nearly 15 years," he said. "We are deeply saddened by the death of our friend and teammate, and our thoughts and prayers are with Mike's family and friends."

Jackson added that employees would have access to grief counseling.

The mill has shifted it's attention toward a "full investigation," citing safety as a core value.

"Our key focus right now is to make sure our team members are working safely and continuing to stay alert on job tasks," Jackson said. "Last night's incident is a tragic reminder of why we are committed to safety in everything we do."


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