Independent Review of WCB and Other Safety Agencies Required Before
Workers Can Have Confidence Safety Is Paramount in BC Workplace
BURNABY, BC, Feb. 13, 2014 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers (USW) are
expressing their disappointment in the provincial governments review of
the Burns Lake Sawmill explosion that it believes is inadequate,
incomplete and provides no comfort to workers.
"Two years have gone by and there are still too many unanswered
questions, no new safety regulations and little to no accountability
for the employer and just as importantly the government agencies
responsible for the safety of workers," said Stephen Hunt, Director of
the United Steelworkers in western Canada, in response to Premier
Christy Clark's review of the Burns Lake sawmill explosion.
The review commissioned by Premier Christy Clark, only looked at the
question of Criminal Justice Branch's decision to not lay charges
recommended by Worksafe BC.
"Reading her own review, surely Premier Clark can't be satisfied that
all of the questions regarding not only the failure to prosecute but
the failure to prevent the death of two workers and serious injuries to
others have been asked and answered," Hunt stated. "Why is there no
review of Worksafe BC's workplace inspection procedures to ensure
action is taken when safety problems are identified?"
"What is the role of the Office of the Fire Commissioner, especially in
smaller forest communities with no municipal fire department?"
"Why is there no new safety regulation to address dust mitigation and
control in sawmills?"
"Why did BC Liberal Ministers intervene to suppress the BC Safety
Authority's report on the Burns Lake explosion?," asked Hunt. "While
the government and its agencies are finally acknowledging the need for
formal investigation protocols that we have long called for, are
workplaces any safer today after the Deputy Minister's report, the
simple answer is no," Hunt added.
Two workers were killed and 20 others were injured in the Jan. 20, 2012,
explosion and at the Babine Forest Products sawmill in Burns Lake.
Three months later, on April 23, 2012 an explosion at the Lakeland
Mills sawmill in Prince George killed two workers and injured 22
others. The USW represents the workers at both sawmills.
The USW has launched a national campaign, Stop The Killing, Enforce The
Law, calling on provincial and territorial governments to train and
direct Crown prosecutors, police and regulators to pursue greater
enforcement of health and safety laws and regulations, including the
Criminal Code. The campaign's website is http://www.StopTheKilling.ca.
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Steve Hunt, USW Western Canada Director, 604-816-2554
Brad West, USW Communications, 604-754-1174, firstname.lastname@example.org