WorkSafeBC completed its investigations into the explosion on January 20, 2012 at the Babine Forest Products Co. sawmill in Burns Lake and the explosion on April 23, 2012 at Lakeland Mills Ltd. Sawmill in Prince George. Two workers were killed and 20 injured in the Babine mill explosion. Two workers were killed and 22 injured in the Lakeland mill explosion.
WorkSafeBC states it will not pursue administrative penalties but instead, pursuant to Division 15 of the Workers Compensation Act, is referring these cases to Crown Counsel. WorkSafeBC could have issued fines geared to the employer, but the Crown can issue stiffer fines toward a broader investigation, including individuals.
The Crown has a period of time to decide whether to proceed with charges, and if it doesn’t, WorkSafeBC can re-address administrative penalties. WorkSafeBC states there has been no evidence of criminal negligence in either case.
Meanwhile, BC Safety Authority (BCSA) released a recommendations report on its investigation into the explosion and fire at Babine Forest Products near Burns Lake. The full investigation report is not being released at this time to avoid compromising Crown Counsel’s review of the referral from WorkSafeBC.