This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

Occupational safety regulator upholds fines for fatal Canada sawmill explosion

15 November 2017

A WorkSafeBC review has upheld a decision to impose more than $1 million worth of penalties against Babine Forest Products for a catastrophic explosion and fire in January 2012 at the Burns Lake sawmill in British Columbia which killed two workers and injured more than 20 others. Babine owner Hampton Affiliates put in a number of appeals over the ruling, but the regulator has upheld the original decision.

Stock image
Stock image

According to the Prince George Citizen, the WorkSafeBC investigation concluded that wood dust was the major fuel for the explosion and fires.

It found that Hampton spent considerable amounts of money on upgrading the sawmill’s production capabilities and improving the dust management system, but it also found little work had been done on the sawmill dust collection system. This was despite the fact that an investigation of an earlier explosion and fire had identified a very large fuel load of dry dust.

Also, no adequate actions had been taken to control airborne wood dust, even though it was cited in December 2011 for unsafe levels within the mill.

The report concluded that effective actions should have been taken to control both the airborne dispersal of wood dust as well as the excessive accumulations on floors and surfaces. Such actions might have prevented this incident, the WorkSafeBC concluded.

An ineffective inspection and maintenance system, wood and weather conditions, the waste conveyor configurations and inadequate supervision of clean-up and maintenance staff were also cited as factors.

The penalties include a $97,500 administrative penalty and claims cost levy of $914,139.62 against Hampton.

More information...

Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page