Babine Forest Products announced Thursday it plans to appeal a $1.01-million penalty, the highest ever levied by WorkSafeBC, for a fatal explosion and fire at its Burns Lake sawmill.
In a statement Thursday, the company said that the fines and administrative penalties against Babine for the dust-fuelled explosion and fire in 2012 that killed two workers and injured 20 others were not fair.
The company noted the Crown had earlier determined charges were not warranted because of the company’s “due diligence in managing foreseeable risks.” The Crown also found that WorkSafe failed to perform an appropriate investigation, the statement pointed out.
“For WorkSafeBC to now propose a significant administrative penalty seems disingenuous, especially in light of this record, and the fact that WorkSafeBC must weigh the same considerations of due diligence as the Crown,” said Babine, which is majority-owned by Oregon-based Hampton Affiliates. “We intend to appeal these proposed fines through the appropriate process,” added Babine, which said it will not comment further at this time.
Last month, an internal document obtained by The Vancouver Sun showed that WorkSafeBC has had special constables with the power to investigate fatalities since 2007, and expanded the program in 2013.