Earning a living should not expose workers to severe injury or death.

Dear editor,

Tom Fletcher of Black Press reports hat WorkSafeBC reported that the explosion (at Babine Mill, Burns Lake, was preventable.

Dear editor,

Tom Fletcher of Black Press reports in the Jan. 22 Midweek that “WorkSafeBC reported that the explosion (at Babine Mill, Burns Lake, January 2012) was preventable”, that “the company knew its dust collection system was under-sized”, but the mill “increased its production before [completing] an upgrade.”

Also, “No adequate actions were taken to reduce or control the levels of airborne dust even though this was the root cause of the violation cited in December 2011”.

Fletcher also tells us that Premier Clark has ordered a review of the decision not to lay charges.

Not mentioned is the fact that the Criminal Code of Canada was changed some years ago to make offences such as are alleged in these explosions criminal acts, with the potential for up to life imprisonment for the guilty.

This includes company presidents, senior officers and boards of directors of companies, if, of course, they knew in advance of the negligence. No one is exempt.

Where injury, but not death occurs due to gross negligence, the penalty is up to 10 years in prison.

It seems to me that Premier Clark and her cabinet, those running companies, workers and their representatives should all be clearly aware of this.

The townspeople of Springhill, N.S., were left seething with helpless anger when explosions at the Springhill mine killed 39 of their kinsmen, despite repeated previous safety violations, but little action by authorities.

This led — eventually — to the changes in the Criminal Code mentioned above (Articles 219 to 221). Doubtless, the people of Prince George (Lakeland Mills) and Burns Lake (Babine) feel similarly.

With the weight of this law before them, company directors should surely maintain proper safety levels in their operations, workers should be clear on their right to a safe workplace, and police agencies alert to the potential for laying criminal charges.

Surely earning a living these days should not put workers at risk of severe injury or death.

Colin Park,

Comox