MRO Magazine

WorkSafeBC finds similarities between two deadly mill explosions


May 22, 2012
By PEM Magazine

Investigators have found similarities and possible sources for two separate sawmill explosions that killed four men.

Jeff Dolan, with WorkSafeBC, says investigators believe the ignition sources in both explosions were in contained areas in the conveyor level, or basement, of the buildings where electrical or mechanical equipment was in operation.

Dolan stresses their findings might be coincidental and the conclusions aren’t final, but says their discovery can’t be ignored by employers.

Roberta Ellis, vice president of corporate services with WorkSafeBC, says the agency has told other mill employers to pay extra attention to those locations inside their sawmills.


WorkSafeBC has already issued a directive to every sawmill employer in the province that they must clean up dust in their operations, which Dolan says could be one of the possible ignition sources in the explosions.

Two men were killed when the Babine Forest Products mill exploded in Burns Lake in January and another two workers were killed in an explosion and fire in the Prince George Lakeland Mill last month.