Today the results of an investigation were released by the B.C. Safety Authority (BCSA) on the tragic accident at the Babine sawmill on January 20th, 2012. We have not at this time analyzed the BCSA report, but it appears to focus on ways to ensure that accidents similar to what occurred in Burns Lake and Prince George last year will not happen again. Babine Forest Products supported the efforts of BCSA while the investigation was underway, and we support many of the recommendations for improvements to address the danger identified by these terrible events, of fine, dry wood dust as a combustion hazard. This work will ensure sawmills are safer in the future.
The Babine sawmill was subject to periodic reviews by WorkSafeBC and our insurance company. The machinery in the sawmill was of a type and configuration that is common to sawmills in British Columbia. Babine also had internal processes and equipment designed to reduce the wood dust present in the sawmill. Tragically, the scope of the hazard was not fully understood before the events of 2012.
Consistent with the BCSA recommendations, the new Babine sawmill will contain state-of-the art equipment and systems to collect wood dust at the machine source. It will have equipment, building and floor plans designed to facilitate clean-up and reduce areas where wood dust can accumulate. Babine is actively participating in an industry and government task force to ensure all sawmills will be safer in the future.
None of those efforts can make up for the tragedy that occurred in Burns Lake and the devastating effect it had on our employees and their families. We shall always share their sorrow. We have learned from this tragedy and we are committed to make the new Babine sawmill a safe place to work for many years to come.
Because WorkSafeBC has not released any information on its findings, and government is still considering the matter, Babine will not be making any further comment on the accident or the BCSA report at this time.