Babine Investigation Report – BC Safety Authority Statement

BCSA’s primary concern is safety. We take our safety responsibilities very seriously and this is why all information collected during the Babine investigation which was pertinent to safety was released in a recommendations report and followed up with multiple Safety Orders aimed at addressing dust hazards in wood processing facilities. The most recent Safety Order was posted May 7.

Throughout our investigations into the mill explosions of 2012, BC Safety Authority has worked collaboratively with agencies that have similar interests in public safety. In January 2013, BC Safety Authority made the choice not to release the full Babine investigation report to avoid compromising Crown Counsel’s review of a referral from WorkSafeBC. The following provides more information about our decision process:

  • Upon completion of our investigation into the Babine Forest Products incident, BCSA prepared an investigation report. This report has not been destroyed or compromised in any way. It remains completely intact and we still intend to release it at the appropriate time.
  • When we were originally preparing for the release of the full report, we shared the report with those having direct interests and related obligations (namely the owner/operators of the mill, other safety agencies, BCSA’s Board of Directors and our reporting Ministry).
  • We were approached by WorkSafeBC with concerns that the public release of the full BCSA report might jeopardize a future prosecution process based on WSBC’s referral of their own investigation findings to Crown Counsel. Therefore, WSBC requested we not release our full report until the conclusion of the Crown Counsel review.
  • A conference call was held to discuss the report in relation to Crown Counsel’s review. On this call were representatives from the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, Ministry responsible for Labour (WorkSafeBC) and Ministry of Energy and Mines (BC Safety Authority).
  • BC Safety Authority carefully considered the request from WorkSafeBC and determined that releasing the information necessary to enhance safety was paramount. We thereby proceeded to release a detailed recommendations report in lieu of the full report.
  • BCSA further asked that any pre-circulated copies of the full report be destroyed to avoid inadvertent disclosure that might undermine Crown’s process.

BCSA has widely shared the recommendations report with industry and the public to provide the information needed to promote technical system safety improvements. Our recommendations and the associated Safety Orders are very specific and detailed to provide the appropriate guidance for wood processing facilities to assess and manage potential risks in their operations. We continue to work with industry and other agencies on this and other safety initiatives.

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