IP Worker Killed by Machine
GEORGETOWN, SC—An International Paper employee was killed January 17 when the debarking machine he was working on pinned and crushed him.
James "Larry" Merritt, 52, a maintenance worker at the IP Sampit Lumber Mill who had been with the company for two years, died from head injuries. While electricity to the machine was shut off, the pneumatic cylinder Merritt was working on lowered and trapped him.
Georgetown County Coroner Kenny Johnson told the Associated Press that Merritt died from head injuries and likely expired within seconds. The accident is being investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Merritt left behind a wife and six children, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun News.
It was the first-ever fatality at the Sampit Mill, which opened in 1975 and employs more than 150 people, according to Stephanie Mangini, IP communications manager. Two people—one an outside contractor—died within 10 months of each other in 2001 and 2002 in accidents at the IP printing and communications papers facility in Georgetown, according to the AP.