A coroner’s inquest has ruled the deaths of two men at the Lakeland Mills explosion in Prince George, B.C, as accidental.
Thursday’s ruling includes 33 recommendations aimed at improving workplace safety and improving the investigation of workplace death. In April 2012, Glenn Roche and Allan Little died as a result of injuries suffered when the Lakeland Mills exploded. Another 24 were injured.
Rhonda Roche says she regrets not doing more to help her husband improve workplace safety standards prior to his death in 2012. The inquest recommended alerting family members to safety concerns in workplaces. “I probably told him to maybe calm down instead of pursuing the right avenues required. I probably would have pushed him a little harder to be heard so if I knew, I probably would have done more. That’s a big regret,” she says.
Other recommendations include a review of emergency response and ambulance procedures, penalties for non-compliance with the B.C. fire code and improvements to the way in which workplace deaths are investigated and prosecuted.
The explosion at the Lakeland Mills sawmill occurred three months after a similar blast killed two others at Babine Forest Products near Burns Lake. An inquest into the Babine mill explosion and fire will be held in Burns Lake in July.