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Worker dead after fall into vat of hot lye

David Landes · 31 Aug 2011, 15:30

Published: 31 Aug 2011 15:30 GMT+02:00

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“He basically fell through the roof of the silo,” Ulf Maxén manager of the Munksjö Paper factory in Billingsfors where the accident took place, told The Local.

“The liquid was corrosive and was heated to somewhere between 70 and 80 degrees Celsius.”

The accident occurred shortly before midnight on Tuesday, according to Maxén, although the exact circumstances remain unclear.

“Some people in the area couldn't find him and then they heard him and were able to figure out where he was,” he said.

“As to exactly what he was doing on the roof of the silo, I can't speculate. That's for the investigation to reveal.”

The man is believed to have fallen about 8 metres into the cistern,which contained a corrosive liquid used in the paper manufacturing process.

Emergency crews and colleagues spent the night working to gain access to and empty the vat and were finally able to recover the man's body around 7am on Wednesday morning.

Shortly thereafter factory officials decided to shut down production at the plant.

Story continues below…

“There's a feeling of incredible sorrow here today,” said Maxén, adding that the man had worked at the factory for more than 20 years.

“We're a small community here. A lot of people knew him.”

Police as well as officials from Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) have launched an investigation into the accident.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:00 August 31, 2011 by Svensksmith
Terrible way to go. My condolences.
17:22 August 31, 2011 by eddie123
a very tragic and painful death. rest in peace.
17:36 August 31, 2011 by conboy
Poor bloke worked all his life and did not even get to lift his pension - it.s the same at many smaller building sites and processing factories accross Sweden although people are not supposed to work on their own they are forced to do so by employers to prove that they are "independent". Hilarious really workers are expected to be good "team players" by being "independent" when in actual fact company leaderships are flouting workers safety,
18:10 August 31, 2011 by RobinHood
Now that Conboy has completed his thorough and painstaking investigation into what went wrong at Munksjö, it is for the authorities to act on his recommendations. Thank you Conboy for not prejudging the issue and leaping to conclusions before you learned all the facts. What would we do without your erudite comments?
18:24 August 31, 2011 by J. L. Belmar

We would certainly die. We would be nothing with cowboys like conboy unless someone real witty like Wilde could guide us. We "Tontos", he The Lone Ranger.
18:41 August 31, 2011 by StockholmSam
These damned corporations. They are getting more and more unscrupulous in their methods of disposing of employees without having to pay pensions.
18:59 August 31, 2011 by conboy
Ah yeah great hearing from lads with the wit to understand the difference between what they don't know but would prefer other people to think! Nothing beats swivel chair suppleance to the profit and greed machine.
19:28 August 31, 2011 by J. L. Belmar

Do you know the difference between opening your mouth only after you think what you sant to say? Or you do not know what brains are for.

So, ride on Silver and shout "Hi-yo, Silver! Away!", because you are certainly not a Kemo Sabe.
21:09 August 31, 2011 by Vitas
I lived in Billingsfors 2 years. Good place but smell from this factory was somtimes so terrible - I woke up at night. There is my picture of this factory http://www.panoramio.com/photo/3686989
23:35 August 31, 2011 by Keith #5083
My nearby town of Bengtsfors was a very sad place today. The victim came from Bengtsfors. Billingsfors is about 5 kms away.He could have retired last year but decided to stay on a little longer.It is unclear, very unclear, as to the circumstances of his death, so please resist 'point the finger' activities until some clarity emerges. Such activities are very painful for those already struck by the grief and not least the horror of the method of death.

There is a healthy concern for the welfare of folks in this area - even at their workplaces. Unforeseeable events can and do still occur everywhere in this world.

My sincerest condolences to the family, friends, workmates and employers of the deceased.
03:52 September 1, 2011 by crunchy2k
Keith #5083, thank you for the added background. A properly written story would have a reporter make some phone calls and gotten that information. My heart goes out to his family.
10:07 September 1, 2011 by Keith #5083

Spare a heartfelt thought for his workmates and employer's also pls. This victim did not die instantaneously and my info is that trauma counsellors were at the factory yesterday to help people after what they had heard and seen.
14:01 September 1, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
R. I. P. to the thread and let's move on
21:26 September 2, 2011 by mikewhite
How terrible for the worker, and his family and friends; let's hope the industry learns how to make its operations safer.

But "lye" ? Good thing it wasn't "oil of vitriol", "spirit of salts" or "aqua fortis" !
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