Nip Impressions logo
Thu, Jan 17, 2019 22:27
Click here for Pulp & Paper Radio International
Subscription Central
Must reads for pulp and paper industry professionals
My Profile
Management Side
Workplace death at WestRock Covington, Virginia facility caused by explosion, investigation finds

COVINGTON, Virginia (From the Roanoke Times) -- An accident that killed a subcontractor employee at the WestRock Co. facility in Covington last October was caused by an explosion, an investigation by state regulators has determined.

The employee was seated on a bleacher step next to a pressure vessel at the facility when one of eight man hatches "blew out," according to a summary of the incident recently posted to the website of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The metal door, which measured 2 feet in diameter, struck the employee.

The case remains under investigation by OSHA's state counterpart, the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Compliance Program.

WestRock officials have declined to provide details of the accident, which happened at 3:15 a.m. Oct. 6.

An autopsy found that Kent Duane Johnson, 57, of Cushing, Minnesota, died of blunt force trauma to the neck and chest from the blast.

Johnson, a mechanical engineer, was working for Valmet, a contractor hired to do a rebuild project at the facility. Johnson was self-employed and traveled across the country to do service engineering work at paper and pulp mills, often when the facilities were closed for the night.

A WestRock spokesperson said that she could not elaborate on OSHA's preliminary report because the accident was still under review and because the victim was not a company employee.

The brief summary of the ongoing investigation does not indicate a cause of the explosion.


Join Jim Thompson on the 2nd Annual Papermakers Mission Trip to Guatemala, 22 - 29 July 17. Build houses, talk about the pulp and paper industry. For more information, email with "Guatemala" in the subject line.

Printer-friendly format


Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: