BC Safety Authority releases investigation report on 2012 Lakeland Mills sawmill explosion

BC Safety Authority (BCSA) today released its investigation report on the April 2012 fatal explosion and fire at the Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George. 

“Following Crown Counsel’s announcement that no charges will be approved in relation to the tragic explosion and fire at the Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George on April 23, 2012, BCSA is publicly releasing its investigation report on this incident,” said Phil Gothe, Vice-President of Technical Programs for BCSA. “The scope of our investigation was to determine whether regulated technical equipment—specifically gas, electric or boiler & pressure vessel equipment—may have contributed to the Lakeland Mills incident.”

BCSA released its investigation report today following the conclusion of Crown Counsel’s review of WorkSafeBC’s charge referral and the release of WorkSafeBC’s investigation report on the Lakeland Mills incident.

“As a result of our investigation, we concluded that the root cause of the incident was the failure to effectively recognize and manage wood dust hazards,” said Gothe. “Our recommendations arising from the investigation are consistent with the nine recommendations published in the January 2013 Recommendations Report from our Babine Forest Products investigation.”

BCSA has issued three safety orders since 2012 to improve safety in the wood processing industry. 

“We continue working with industry to implement our recommendations to improve the management of safety risks relating to regulated equipment and work,” said Gothe. “We are conducting physical assessments of safety management plans at wood processing facilities throughout BC and working with operators towards better understanding and management of the potential hazards associated with combustible dust.”

“What happened at Lakeland was a tragedy. All those affected deserve our full commitment to improving safety in the wood processing industry.”

For more information on BCSA’s actions to improve safety in the wood processing industry, visit: www.safetyauthority.ca/combustible-dust

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BC Safety Authority is an independent, self-funded organization mandated to oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment. In addition to issuing permits, licenses and certificates, it works with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, education and outreach, enforcement, and research.

Media inquiries, please contact:

BC Safety Authority
Media Relations
Tel. 778-396-2164

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