West Fraser lumber. File photo.

Worker buried in sawdust in a shavings bin at West Fraser B.C. Sawmill

WorksafeBC said rescue was needed on one occasion as the worker was unable to help themself

A worker at the Chasm Sawmill division of West Fraser was buried to about head or chest depth in a wood shavings bin area and needed to be rescued, according to a WorkSafeBC report.

“A worker performing clean up during maintenance type work inside a bin approximately 50 to 80 feet high, 30 feet wide, was engulfed by sawdust and/or wood shavings type recovery waste product,” according to the report. “The need for rescue did arise and the lone worker was engulfed and unable to self-rescue.”

The incident was not immediately reported to the board and between the time of the worker being buried and the conclusion of the full investigation, work resumed.

“This employer did not immediately undertake a preliminary investigation that identified all the unsafe conditions, acts or procedures as far as possible, in order to ensure that work can be continued or resumed,” according to the report. “Also, according to information provided by the employer, another worker was engulfed; however, that worker managed to self-rescue.”

The report notes that West Fraser failed to ensure adequate protection from entrapment or engulfment, a serious health and/or safety hazard.

The worker who entered the wood shavings recovery type bin, “was not provided with and did not wear a lifeline and harness, and was not continuously tended by a standby person who is equipped for and capable of effecting immediate rescue.”

WorkSafeBC was notified approximately one week later during a routine inspection, according to the report.

“This employer failed to ensure the scene of an accident that is reportable under subsection (1) was not disturbed, to permit investigate, and prevent potential injuries or death, and any other worker(s) being engulfed.”

A preliminary investigation report was completed and provided to a WorkSafeBC officer. West Fraser has since developed and performed a risk assessment, developed a safe work procedure for entering the shavings bin and as of Nov. 21 planned an emergency drill for confined space and/or enclosed space within the next 30 days.

Part of the actions includes no entry into the bin unless the material is four feet or less.

“A Vac truck and hose system will be used from outside the bin when materials are greater than four feet.”

The 100 Mile Free Press has contacted West Fraser but has not yet received a response.


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Happy hour, dance party fundraiser for Central Okanagan Food Bank

Local musicians perform a virtual concert on June 5

Central Okanagan school buses to remain parked through the summer

The board of education made the decision to nix bus services on Wednesday

Booze on Kelowna beaches? Mayor says ‘not at the moment’

Mayor Colin Basran says alcohol in public spaces is not on council’s radar right now — but that could change

Motor trike crashes into hole in Ellison area

A man was taken to hospital after crashing his trike on Anderson Road

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Flood watch for Salmon River upgraded as high temperatures, rain forecast

Shuswap Emergency Program warns residents to prepare now for possible extreme flooding

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

RCMP request public’s help in locating missing Salmon Arm man

Ken Derkach is a familiar face to many, one of the city’s residents who is without a home

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Drunk man on a dirt bike and prohibited drivers without insurance keep Shuswap RCMP busy

Other calls resulted in excessive speed tickets and the arrests of two prohibited drivers

Summerland amends procedure for virtual council meetings, adding transparency

During COVID-19 pandemic, meetings have been held using online technology

Most Read