British Columbia Assessing Safety Progress Following Sawmill Explosions

British Columbia provincial officials have hired Vancouver lawyer Lisa Helps to assess how WorkSafeBC implemented worker safety recommendations following two dust-related sawmill explosions in 2012 and 2014 at Babine Forest Products and Lakeland Mills.

British Columbia provincial officials have hired Vancouver lawyer Lisa Helps to assess how WorkSafeBC implemented worker safety recommendations following two dust-related sawmill explosions in 2012 and 2014 at Babine Forest Products and Lakeland Mills. The province's announcement said Helps also will provide advice on potential legislative changes to improve safety for B.C. workers.

Coroner's inquests were conducted into the deaths of four individuals who died in the Jan. 20, 2012, Babine Forest Products sawmill explosion and the April 24, 2012, Lakeland Mills explosion. The provincial government commissioned two other reports in 2014 — the Dyble Report and Macatee Report. These reports and the 2015 coroner's verdicts included recommendations for improvements.

The mills' owners appealed hefty fines issued by WorkSafeBC after investigating both explosions.

Helps will seek input from stakeholders and staffers in WorkSafeBC and the ministries of attorney general, public safety and solicitor general, and labour. She will also invite workers affected by the explosions and their families to share their perspectives on the issues under review.

Her report is to be delivered to the attorney general by mid-July 2019. After review, the attorney general will make public any recommendations related to improving processes or legislation.

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