The July 14 incident at Pacific Power in Pendleton that killed a journeyman lineman is under state investigation.

The Occupational Safety and Health Division, otherwise knowns as Oregon OSHA, enforces the state's workplace safety and health rules. Melanie Mesaros, public information officer for Oregon OSHA, said the watchdog agency is investigating how power poles struck and killed Gary W. Anderson, 48, who worked for Mountain Power Construction, a Pacific Power contractor.

"What I understand happened, there were some power poles loaded on a trailer that came off the trailer and struck the employee," Mesaros said.

Anderson died on July 24 from traumatic brain injury, she said.

Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts said officers responded to the scene to assist Pendleton Fire and Ambulance emergency workers, who took Anderson to St. Anthony Hospital. From there, Anderson was flown to Oregon Health Science University in Portland.

Pendleton police are not looking at this as a criminal case, he said.

"There was not anything there that appeared to be anything other than a worker issue," Roberts said.

According to an online obituary, Anderson has a wife, a son and a stepdaughter. The family held a memorial service for Anderson Aug. 8 at the First Unitarian Church in Portland.

Fatality investigations can take up to three months for the agency to complete, Mesaros said.

Oregon OSHA has reported 21 people have died in on the job in Oregon this year, including a a farm worker on Feb. 11 in Hermiston and worker who died Feb. 16 in an explosion at ConAgra Foods in Boardman. In 2008, 44 people on the job died in Oregon, and in 2007 the number was 35.

The state, however, data excludes deaths of workers not subject to Oregon workers' compensation coverage, such as people who were self-employed, worked in Oregon for out-of-state employers, city of Portland police and fire employees, or federal employees.

In the ConAgra case, the agency found the food company and NW Metal Fabricators out of Hermiston had failed to take safety precautions that led to the death of welder Kevin Gregerson. Oregon OSHA fined ConAgra $65,000 and NW Metal Fabricators $25,000.

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