WorkSafeBC fines East Fraser Fiber for fifth time in eight months

April 18, 2016

By: Prince George Citizen

A Mackenzie wood manufacturer is turning into a repeat offender as far as WorkSafeBC is concerned.

As of the end of January, East Fraser Fiber Co. Ltd. had been issued five fines over the span of eight months, according to recently-updated posting’s on the agency’s website.

The most recent, issued January 25, was a $67,769.10 levy after an inspection uncovered wood dust as deep as 10 centimetres (four inches) in direct contact with potential ignition sources, such as electrical cables and components, in the firm’s sawmill chipper room.

“The firm’s own routine inspection had identified this room as needing cleanup about 10 hours before WorkSafeBC’s inspection,” the agency noted in the posting.

With as many as 20 workers exposed to the risk of fire or explosion, the firm was told to stop work until the mess had been cleaned up.

The four previous fines were for unsafe procedures around moving equipment.

In December, East Fraser was issued fines of $67,769.10 and $65,235.12.

The former was levied after two workers tried to realign a conveyor belt under a piece of machinery that was shut down but not locked out.

The latter was issued after a worker suffered serious injuries to her arm when she reached across a ripsaw to clear a piece of wood.

Although the power had been locked out, the ripsaw’s eight blades were still spinning when the worker, who was a new employee, made the move. Stored energy in the blades meant they were “still spinning so fast that their movement was imperceptible.”

In May 2015, East Fraser was issued two fines that added up to $195,705.36 for similar infractions.

East Fraser has appealed all five fines.

By: Prince George Citizen

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