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Steelworkers union response to announcement of mill explosion inquest

BURNABY, BC, April 14, 2014 /CNW/ - British Columbia Crown Counsel's announcement that it will not be pursuing charges under the Workers Compensation Act in connection to the Lakeland Mills explosion is another indictment of B.C.'s failure to protect workers, says the United Steelworkers (USW).

The explosion killed two workers and came only months after an explosion at the Babine Forest Products sawmill in Burns Lake, B.C. In that case, charges were recommended by WorkSafeBC but were turned down by Crown counsel.

"While the provincial government and their agencies point fingers at each other, workers in the province continue to be at risk. The failure of so many agencies to take appropriate action before and after this explosion and the one that preceded it in Burns Lake, leaves victims, survivors and all workers in disbelief," said Stephen Hunt, USW District 3 director.

"Mill workers and their families want to have confidence that the agencies responsible for worker safety are doing their job. Today that doesn't exist."

Hunt stressed the need for the government to take immediate action and institute a clear plan for the prosecution of negligence in workplace death, through the full application of the Westray amendments to Canada's Criminal Code.

Steelworkers also joined family members in calling for a full and independent inquiry or review into not only the explosion, but also the failure of so many government agencies to prevent these incidents, let alone successfully prosecute following the explosions.

 

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