British Columbia’s wood products manufacturers have come together in an unprecedented collaboration to advance research and best practices in improving mill safety in response to the devastating explosions at Babine Forest Products and Lakeland Mills.
Until we receive the investigation conclusions from WorkSafeBC, we cannot say for certain what caused the events at those two facilities. We feel strongly that the severity of the two incidents demands an immediate and comprehensive safety response. Four members of our sector lost their lives and we will not wait to take action.
Recently, CEOs from the major wood products manufacturing companies in British Columbia gathered to create an plan for improving safety. Companies including Ainsworth, Interfor, Dunkley Lumber, Western Forest Products, Tolko, Sinclar Group, Hampton Affiliates, Conifex, West Fraser Timber and Canfor resolved to establish a CEO-led task force that will quantify combustion risks related to dust from processing of both green and dry wood and identify best practices for dust mitigation from other industries.
We also committed to developing a set of clear and auditable standards that will be utilized to independently assess the safety of mills across the industry. We will work with experts and other stakeholders to ensure these standards are comprehensive and provide assurance that conditions in mills across B.C. are safe for workers.
Finally, we will be reaching out to every forest products manufacturer in the province, large or small, to expand this initiative to every mill in B.C.