President & CEO, Coast Forest Products Association
Safety Task Force to Address Interior Sawmill Explosions
Coast Forest expresses its deepest sympathy to the sawmill workers and their families in the interior of BC who have been injured or killed in the recent explosions. The tragic events at the Babine and Lakeland sawmills are some of the largest crises to impact BC forestry in recent history. While the cause(s) of these incidents is under investigation, preliminary observations point to combustible sawdust from interior pine beetle wood as the source.
When accidents occur we inevitably ask ourselves what could have been done differently. Coast Forest takes these as a critical wake-up call to re-assess current safety practices and look to ways in which we may adapt to ever-changing conditions. It is our responsibility as an industry to take a leadership role on this front and in the recent months and weeks we have seen this in action.
BC forestry companies have taken the proactive approach of forming a Task Force to address the causes of these explosions and look for ways in which these devastating incidents can be prevented from ever happening again. The manner in which they have communicated to families, communities and the public with open staff calls and the Joint Industry Communique on Mill Safety reminds us that, whether from the coast or interior, we all are deeply affected by this tragedy and therefore must share in finding the solution.