West Fraser Mills in Quesnel fined $637,000 for workplace injury

By Ashley Legassic
April 8, 2019 - 8:57am

QUESNEL, B.C. — A well-known lumber mill in the Cariboo region has been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars after a worker sustained serious injuries at the plant.

The incident happened at West Fraser Mills in Quesnel.

WorkSafeBC said in its penalty decision that a worker from a subcontractor's firm was vacuuming ash from a hatch midway up a multi-cone hopper when compacted hot ash broke free.

The ash rushed out of the hatch and onto the worker, causing serious injuries.

"WorkSafeBC's investigation determined that (West Fraser Mills) had not conducted an adequate assessment of the risks associated with accumulated hot ash," the penalty stated. "Safe work procedures had not been communicated to the subcontractor firm, and the subcontractor's workers had not been trained in the work task."

WorkSafeBC imposed a $637,415 fine on March 6 against the mill, and a review has been requested.

The mill didn't provide the necessary information to identify and control hazards to workers, the penalty stated, which was a repeated violation.

"In addition, the firm failed to provide the information, instruction, training, and supervision necessary to ensure workers' health and safety. These were all high-risk violations."

Although the subcontractor wasn't mentioned in the West Fraser penalty decision, a separate decision against Envirosystems Incorporated matched the details of the incident.

The company was fined just over $8,000 on Feb. 28. WorkSafeBC said in that decision that the worker had not been trained in this work task, and had not been provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment. 

Read both decisions here.

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