A male worker in his mid 30s is dead after an early-morning industrial accident at the Harmac pulp mill near Nanaimo, B.C.

Sgt. Cam Muir says officers responded to reports of an industrial accident around 5:30 a.m. PT Friday. RCMP stayed on the scene for more than seven hours.

It's still unclear what happened, but Muir says the man fell while he was working around a chip pile.

A joint investigation by Nanaimo RCMP, WorkSafeBC, and the B.C. Coroners Service is underway but is still in its early stages.

"We'll look at all avenues of this investigation, including liability of the criminal code, any provincial statutes that might apply, as well as any work safe guidelines," said Muir.

This was the second death at a Vancouver Island pulp mill this year.

With files from Deborah Goble