Vancouver Sun

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.

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