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B.C. sawmill explosions report calls for more investigative independence

A large fire burns at the Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George, B.C., on April 24, 2012. A coroner's inquest into a deadly mill explosion in northern British Columbia has suggested that the RCMP develop a policy for investigating criminal negligence in the workplace as one of 33 recommendations aimed at preventing similar disasters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Johnson
Summary

Two people died and 19 were injured in an explosion at Babine Forest Products in Burns Lake in January 2012

Three months later, two people died and 44 were injured in a similar explosion at Lakeland Mills in Prince George

VANCOUVER – A report reviewing responses by the British Columbia government and WorkSafeBC after two fatal sawmill explosions is calling for a more streamlined investigative process and news ways for workers to report safety concerns.

Two people died and 19 were injured in an explosion at Babine Forest Products in Burns Lake in January 2012.

Three months later, two people died and 44 were injured in a similar explosion at Lakeland Mills in Prince George.

Vancouver lawyer Lisa Helps was asked to assess how worker safety recommendations were implemented in the aftermath of the explosions.

In her 54-page report, Helps says all the recommendations made in three reports stemming from the incidents have been implemented or partially implemented and the changes have been largely effective and positive.

However, she recommends restructuring investigative teams to join compliance and quasi-criminal investigators and empowering them to make independent decisions about charge approval submissions.

(The Canadian Press)<