WorkSafeBC recently warned forest companies the ignition sources for two fatal sawmill explosions took place in “contained areas” housing electrical and mechanical equipment in the basement or lower levels of the two mills.
The regulatory agency has asked mill owners to pay attention to these areas after the similarities were found during ongoing investigations into the explosions that killed four workers and injured dozens more during the past three months in northern B.C.
“The similarities may be coincidental but certainly can’t be ignored,” said Jeff Dolan, WorkSafeBC director of investigations.
WorkSafeBC officials would not reveal details about the explosion locations other than to say they had four walls and a floor, where large equipment could also act as a wall.
Dolan noted that a contained space is one of five elements needed to create an explosion. The others are dispersion of an explosive agent, fuel, ignition and oxygen.