VANCOUVER, BC - The BC Safety Authority (BCSA) enumerated nine recommendations relative to its investigation of the Jan. 20, 2012 explosion and fire at Babine Forest Products sawmill near Burns Lake, BC.
Two workers were killed and 20 injured in the tragedy that destroyed the sawmill facility. Hampton Affiliates of Portland, OR, owner of the facility, plans to rebuild the mill.
First and foremost, the BCSA recommended that wood products operations hire "a professional that is qualified to identify combustible dust hazardous locations, and in accordance with a recognized industry standard for combustible dust hazardous locations" to assess and identify hazardous locations.
The BCSA recommendations report also offers recommendations to the BC Office of the Fire Commissioner and Canadian Standards Association about what they might do to help prevent wood combustible dust explosions and accidents.
“We have chosen this approach because it balances our respect for that process with our responsibility for promoting safety,” said Catherine Roome, BCSC president and CEO of BSCA, an independent, self‐funded organization mandated to oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment..
Greg Paddon, BCSA director of technical programs, said, “Our aim was to conduct a thorough investigation and learn all we could to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents. Now we can use that knowledge to initiate improvements toward the management of safety risks.”
The BC Safety Authority's combustible dust prevention recommendations, include:
To Owners and Operators of Wood Processing Facilities:
1. Document a facility assessment to identify hazardous locations that is completed by a professional that is qualified to identify combustible dust hazardous locations, and in accordance with a recognized industry standard for combustible dust hazardous locations.
2. Where hazardous locations are identified and contain regulated equipment, document a plan to either develop and implement auditable wood dust management practices for these locations that are accepted by a qualified person as an effective means to manage the combustion hazard, or configure the equipment for safe operation given the presence of the combustible dust hazard.