Sawmill Inspections Continuing in British Columbia

The latest update from WorkSafeBC indicates some orders for corrective action on combustible dusts have been issued by the agency during follow-up visits to 172 locations.

WorkSafeBC posted an update Dec. 21 that summarizes the results of inspections its personnel have carried out this year at sawmills. The principal hazard targeted by these inspections, which were spurred by significant sawmill fires, is accumulations of combustible dust.

The update indicates some orders for corrective action on combustible dusts have been issued by the agency during follow-up visits to 172 locations.

The agency issued a directive order to all sawmill employers on April 26, 2012, and has carried out the inspections in two phases thus far. All operational sawmills inspected as part of Phase I have complied with the directive order, according to the Dec. 21 update. Inspections done since Oct. 1, 2012, as officers revisited Phase I sawmills produced 47 inspection reports related to combustible dusts, plus 13 combustible dust reports with orders, and 74 reports unrelated to combustible dusts at a total of 172 locations.

Phase II began July 5, 2012, and includes 240 similar wood processing operations where dust accumulations could be a safety hazard. The agency has conducted 221 initial inspections and 121 follow-up inspections, issuing a total of 672 orders -- including 108 for dust accumulations, 10 for unsafe use of compressed air, 61 for dust collection system issues, and one concerning the need for ventilation. Other regulations were involved in a total of 492 orders.

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