THE Proserpine sugar mill was shut down for 24 hours earlier this week as a mark of respect to employee John Erikson who died as a result of injuries sustained on site on Sunday morning.
The 46-year-old plant operator had worked at the mill for four years and received multiple injuries after he was struck by empty cane bins leaving the tippler at about 10am.
Mr Erikson arrived in the Whitsundays in June 2001. He was living the dream with his new custom Harley and his Buell motorbike.
He loved the water, boats and fishing and he was looking forward to getting his new big boat.
He had a passion for electrical work and driving and operating machinery and he loved working at the mill as well as driving taxis and working as a security officer.
On his days off, he liked to go for a ride on his Harley and watching movies.
His partner Rj Addison and step-daughter Taila Gregson (who he always introduced as his daughter) described him as a man with a heart of gold who was caring and funny.
"He touched the hearts of others through humour, a bit of stirring and lots of love," Taila said.
"We were a close family and every moment of our lives together was full of laughter, happiness and love," she said.
Rj said John loved having a laugh with his mates and valued their friendship.
"He had so much pride, love and joy for his friends and family."
After Sunday's accident, Mr Erikson was transported to the Mackay Base Hospital for treatment but he died that afternoon.
Operations were temporarily suspended immediately after the incident, but resumed a few hours later after police had assessed and cleared the scene in consultation with the Workplace Health and Safety Division.
Sucrogen's cane products executive general manager Craig Doyle said upon news of Mr Erikson's passing, plans were put in place to safely shut the factory down for 24 hours from 9am on Monday.
"As soon as we had made that decision we stopped the growers from harvesting so we could shut down for the day," he said.
Mr Doyle said investigations were conducted on site, involving police, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland representatives and internal personnel. "From the initial investigations it appears there's been no failure of equipment," he said.
Mr Doyle said Sucrogen would continue to support Mr Erikson's family and workmates during this difficult time.
"We're deeply saddened and offer condolences to the family, whom we're supporting and we'll be working through with the site staff and employees to ensure everyone remains safe. Obviously we're keeping a very, very close eye on the people who witnessed the event and his close workmates and friends," he said. "We're making sure we support them and that they've got access to counselling and anything else they need to get them through."
The 2012 cane harvesting season is expected to be finalised early next week, with less than 80,000 tonnes of cane left to harvest across the Proserpine district.
Mr Erikson's funeral will be held at the Metropole Hotel in Prosepine tomorrow (Friday) November 16 at 4pm.
If you want to upgrade your family to a much bigger designer home then this is it... Approximately 350m2 under roof with an extra large timber deck with privacy...
Ideal for family living, this spacious villa offers a sought after seaside location and a low maintenance lifestyle perfect for owner occupiers. A gallery style...
Discerning buyers looking for a Beach side property should definitely inspect 39 Coral Drive, Blacks Beach. Reduced to $950,000 and negotiable, the home is below...
This charming and lovingly maintained residence is set on a 800sqm block and is walking distance to the Mount Pleasant Shopping Centre. The fully tiled home is...
Located in ever popular Glenella this lowset, rendered 4 Bedroom home represents great value for the modern family. With a large open plan living and dining area...
Located in one of Mackay's premier acreage areas - Nindaroo is renowned for its closeness to all amenities, while enjoying magic rural views and ocean...
This lowset brick home has everything for the young family and is situated in a quiet cul-de sac, a laneway to schools beside house, within walking distance to...
This picturesque hideaway provides a spacious and light-filled environment set on a functional 2.5 acre site only 13 minutes to Mackay's CBD. The four-bedroom...
Located approximately 20kms from Sarina on the Old Marlborough Highway sits this potential filled property which is your chance for a real bargain. Property...
This is a very unique parcel of land on the beach front in Eimeo Mackay, facing east & looking across the sea to St Bees, Keswick & Brampton Islands. It is now...
Join the Community.
Get your local news, your way.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.