West Fraser lumber. File photo.

Worker buried in sawdust in a shavings bin at West Fraser B.C. Sawmill

WorksafeBC said rescue was needed on one occasion as the worker was unable to help themself

A worker at the Chasm Sawmill division of West Fraser was buried to about head or chest depth in a wood shavings bin area and needed to be rescued, according to a WorkSafeBC report.

“A worker performing clean up during maintenance type work inside a bin approximately 50 to 80 feet high, 30 feet wide, was engulfed by sawdust and/or wood shavings type recovery waste product,” according to the report. “The need for rescue did arise and the lone worker was engulfed and unable to self-rescue.”

The incident was not immediately reported to the board and between the time of the worker being buried and the conclusion of the full investigation, work resumed.

“This employer did not immediately undertake a preliminary investigation that identified all the unsafe conditions, acts or procedures as far as possible, in order to ensure that work can be continued or resumed,” according to the report. “Also, according to information provided by the employer, another worker was engulfed; however, that worker managed to self-rescue.”

The report notes that West Fraser failed to ensure adequate protection from entrapment or engulfment, a serious health and/or safety hazard.

The worker who entered the wood shavings recovery type bin, “was not provided with and did not wear a lifeline and harness, and was not continuously tended by a standby person who is equipped for and capable of effecting immediate rescue.”

WorkSafeBC was notified approximately one week later during a routine inspection, according to the report.

“This employer failed to ensure the scene of an accident that is reportable under subsection (1) was not disturbed, to permit investigate, and prevent potential injuries or death, and any other worker(s) being engulfed.”

A preliminary investigation report was completed and provided to a WorkSafeBC officer. West Fraser has since developed and performed a risk assessment, developed a safe work procedure for entering the shavings bin and as of Nov. 21 planned an emergency drill for confined space and/or enclosed space within the next 30 days.

Part of the actions includes no entry into the bin unless the material is four feet or less.

“A Vac truck and hose system will be used from outside the bin when materials are greater than four feet.”

The 100 Mile Free Press has contacted West Fraser but has not yet received a response.


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prince Rupert doctor amends social media statement on COVID-19

College of Physicians said information must not be disclosed

Volunteer closures devastating to bottom line

P.R. fishing charters banding together to deter out of province tourists amidst COVID-19

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Digital Daffodils

April is Canadian Cancer Society’s cancer awareness month

North District RCMP see massive spike in domestic calls

Connection to COVID-19 pandemic likely for reduced call volume, increased severity

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Most Read