Skip to main content

Smoke rises from the Babine Forest Products sawmill in Burns Lake, B.C., on Jan. 22, 2012.

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

The 2012 explosion at a Burns Lake, B.C., sawmill that killed two workers and wounded 20 others was a "preventable incident" according to a detailed report released Thursday by WorkSafeBC.

Read the Globe's latest story on the report here.

A section of the report quoting workers and supervisors sheds light on the conditions:

Story continues below advertisement

"The dust in the mill was bad. … When we're running [dust was] in the air, and then it would settle in the basement … the dust was worse down there."

"We have an undersized baghouse."

"Lots of complaints about dust."

"[Bugwood is] a totally different dust than any sawmill dust that I've ever seen … almost looks like a dirt dust."

"The dust [piles] on top of those [disconnect] boxes themselves were probably eight inches deep."

"Those [sawdust] piles [were] just way over my head."

"But the bugwood would create the worst [air]. Sometimes you couldn't see across [the mill floor]."

Story continues below advertisement

"You'd have to go into sawdust piles four feet high to go work on something. And you're working in these sawdust piles."

"There were … mountains of broken debris and sawdust everywhere."

"The basement's a different story, it was horrendous."

"You could always see a dusty haze through the whole mill."

"[The sawdust was] really fine. … The stuff … flies around and it gets up there."

"There was a lot of dust in there. … Sometimes we could barely see [across the mill]."

Story continues below advertisement

"[The sawdust build-up was] everywhere on beams, handrails, stairs, the floor even."

"All around these debarkers … were the hardest to [walk] around, because there's just so much waste. … In the basement … there's piles over here. Piles over there. … All around here was piles of waste."

From WorkSafeBC's Babine Forest Products Incident Investigation Report, found here.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies