Police at explosion and fire that killed two workers at Babine Forest Products sawmill, Burns Lake B.C., Jan. 20, 2012. (Laura Blackwell/Lakes District News)

Police at explosion and fire that killed two workers at Babine Forest Products sawmill, Burns Lake B.C., Jan. 20, 2012. (Laura Blackwell/Lakes District News)

WorkSafeBC changes called for after B.C. sawmill explosions

Investigation powers recommended for fatal industrial incidents like Burns Lake

WorkSafeBC should have a separate investigations unit for incidents like the fatal sawmill explosions that killed four workers in Burns Lake and Prince George in 2012, according to the B.C. government’s latest independent review.

The two explosions have been exhaustively studied, with both determined to have been triggered by accumulated wood dust from high-volume milling of dry trees killed by mountain pine beetle infestation. Two mill workers died in the Babine Forest Products mill in Burns Lake Jan. 20, 2012, and two more died in a similar blast and fire at Lakeland Mills in Prince George on April 24 of that year.

The B.C. government hired Vancouver lawyer Lisa Helps earlier this year to follow up on two previous probes by the province into the circumstances and WorkSafeBC response. Improved inspections and better enforcement of dust cleaning were key recommendations in the years after the fatalities.

RELATED: Babine mill owners pay $1.1 million penalty for 2012 blast

RELATED: WorkSafeBC concludes wood dust caused fatal explosion

Helps recommended that WorkSafeBC restructure its fatal and serious incident investigation team from two teams to one. Other key recommendations include:

• The B.C. government should amend the Workers Compensation Act to include search and seizure authority. Currently WorkSafeBC investigators must apply for a search warrant under the Offence Act.

• The B.C. government should amend its occupational health and safety regulations to strengthen worker protections around the right to refuse unsafe work.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

After holding recent meetings socially distanced but in person at Isfeld Secondary, the board of education was back meeting via Zoom because of recent pandemic restrictions. Image, screenshot
Most parents approve of schools’ handling of pandemic, says Comox Valley superintendent

Schools forced to adapt to COVID-19, including finding alternative to regular theatre production

The Gnarly Craft Fair is going virtual this year. Photo by Kim Stallknecht
Gnarly Youth Craft goes virtual

The virtual fair will be open until Dec. 19 and features talented youth aged 9 -19 years

Lake Trail Middle School in Courtenay has closed again due to a threat Friday (Dec 4). File photo
Lake Trail Middle School closed for the second time in a week due to threat

On Nov. 26, the school was closed for a day while a similar incident occurred.

Comox Valley singer-songwriter Helen Austin, and Cincinnati’s Paul Otten are Big Little Lions. Photo via biglittlelions.com
Big Little Lions earn Canadian Folk Music Award nomination

Duo featuring Comox Valley singer-songwriter Helen Austin keeping busy during pandemic

The CSWM board affirmed its statutory holiday closures decision for solid waste delivery to the regional landfill, despite scheduling issue for one member municipality. Record file photo
Cumberland ‘holding the bag’ over landfill holiday closures

CSWM and hauler will look into scheduling options for the community

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither are we’

Beefs and Bouquets
Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for week of Dec. 2

Beef to deer hunters; bouquet from a store owner to shoppers

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty ventilators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of paymens for household incomes up to $175,000

KIJHL games have been postponed through Dec. 31. (File photo)
KIJHL postpones all games through end of 2020

Due to provincial health orders, games up to Dec. 31 have been pushed back

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Former Kelowna social worker arrested for allegedly stealing from foster kids

Robert Riley Saunders was arrested in Alberta and will be brought back to B.C. to face charges

A fountain of water spewed from a Courtenay fire hydrant Friday (Dec. 4) morning after it was hit by a vehicle on Fitzgerald Avenue. Photo by CTV Vancouver Island
Vehicle hits hydrant in Courtenay sending fountain of water in the air

Comox Valley RCMP were on scene looking at a vehicle left behind which had extensive damage.

Most Read