Mills fined for wood dust levels
WorkSafe BC has levied administrative penalties for various infractions, including several involving sawmills where unsafe levels of sawdust have been found. Conifex pellet mill in Fort St. James was fined $75,000 in October after a WorkSafe investigation found up to 30 workers were put at a severe risk of injury or death because of dust buildups in three areas. NW Wood Preservers in Vanderhoof was fined more than $48,000 late last year when checks found the mill’s dust inspection program was informal and dust lay nearly eight centimetres deep in parts of its chipper room. WorkSafe records show C. & C. Wood Products Ltd., in Quesnel, was fined more than $68,000 after dust up to 10 centimetres deep was found around potential ignition sources, while a metre-deep pile of dust in a Moricetown mill led to a fine of nearly $7,000. WorkSafeBC developed a combustible dust inspection strategy after four men died and 42 others were injured following separate fatal explosions at sawmills in Burns Lake and Prince George in 2012.