BURNABY, Nov. 29, 2012 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers (USW) is urging
Crown prosecutors to expedite the decision-making process and exercise
their full authority in assessing WorkSafeBC's investigation reports
into tragic sawmill explosions in northern B.C.
"Now that WorkSafeBC has completed its investigation, it is incumbent
that Crown counsel use its full authority to prosecute any violations
of workplace health and safety laws that contributed to these
tragedies," said USW Western Canada Director Stephen Hunt.
"All measures must be taken to provide justice to the workers who were
killed or injured and their families, and to help prevent similar
tragedies in the future," Hunt said.
WorkSafeBC announced today that is has completed its investigations into
a Jan. 20, 2012 explosion at the Babine Forest Products sawmill in
Burns Lake and a similar explosion on April 23 this year at the
Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George. Two workers were killed and 20
injured in Burns Lake and another two workers were killed and 22
injured in Prince George.
The USW represents workers at both sawmills.
WorkSafeBC said today it is referring the findings of its investigations
into the tragedies to Crown prosecutors to consider possible violations
under the Workers Compensation Act.
"We welcome the fact that the investigation has been completed, but we
urge Crown Counsel to continue to move the process forward and ensure
justice is done," Hunt said.
"The B.C. government also must commit to adopting the recommendations
that come from this investigation to ensure that these tragedies can
never occur again," he added.
The USW also is renewing its call for a formal review into the
jurisdictions and collaborative procedures between government agencies
responsible for workplace health and safety, Hunt said.
The USW previously sent the B.C. government a formal request for such a
review, following disturbing revelations of a lack of coordination
between government agencies responsible for workplace safety at the
Burns Lake and Prince George sawmills.
The revelations included:
Babine Forest Products had not been inspected by government fire
inspectors under either the federal or provincial fire safety code for
The Prince George Fire Department had several inspection reports
detailing concerns about combustible wood dust levels in Lakeland
WorkSafeBC had noted high levels of dust in both mills;
None of these agencies shared the information they held with any other
"The United Steelworkers has made worker health and safety a top
priority for the union and is committed to working with all levels of
government to make improvements," Hunt said.
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Stephen Hunt, Director, 604-816-2554
Brad West, USW Communications, 604-754-1174, firstname.lastname@example.org