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October 28, 2017 4:19 am

No Justice – Say Families of Lakeland Explosion Victims

Friday, May 15, 2015 @ 4:00 AM

rhonda roche

Rhonda Roche reads from a prepared statement – photo 250News

Prince George, B.C.- For John Little,  father of Allan Little who died as a result of injuries sustained in  the Lakeland explosion in April of 2012,   the Coroner’s  inquest failed to  find any accountability for  his  son’s death.

The Coroner’s jury found the death of Allan Little and Glenn Roche to be  accidental, and presented 33 recommendations to  prevent such  a tragedy from  recurring. “If accountability wasn’t determined, then justice wasn’t served” says John Little.     He added that  “Hopefully with the recommendations that were made,  the workers in the future will work in a safer environment than has been in the past and other families won’t have to go through what we went through.  It’s probably  wishful  thining but I don’t think that’s true.”

He  says nothing short of a public inquiry would have put this matter to rest “That’s what we asked for in the beginning and that’s what it should have been.”

The widow of Glenn Roche,  Rhonda,  read from a prepared statement and she too  wished there had been a  public inquiry  “I don’t believe this was the appropriate venue, as no matter what facts are uncovered,  there is no accountability no knowledge and no justice is acquired.”  She says  the evidence helped “fill in the blanks” of what happened on the night her  husband  suffered  burns  to  90%of his body,  injuries  that would take his life.

“This is now  public record and I believe the facts speak for themselves they show part of  the systematic  failures, and do point out the parties responsible for my husband Glenn’s death, the death of Al Little and the injuries to many of the other workers It is unfortunate these proceedings do not assign fault or accountability.”

A coroner’s inquest cannot  find  blame for an incident,  it can only  determine the location, date and time of a death and make a ruling as to whether  the death was natural, suicide,  homicide,  accidental or  undetermined.  The jury  can  make recommendations  to  try to prevent  such deaths in the future.

The jury made 33 recommendations which  call for  changes in the way incidents are reported to WorkSafe B.C., how emergency services respond to  major incidents,  how  such incidents are investigated, and  ways to improve the culture of safety  in  the workplace through the sharing of safety committee minutes and  stressing  a worker’s rights to refuse  work  if they believe there are safety concerns. (Complete recommendations can be found here)

“It has been an emotional journey for  myself, my family and the injured workers” said Rhonda Roche  who expressed some hope “We  can all hope that from the  recommendations provided at this inquest that they will be implemented,”   who added “To ensure that  at the end of the day  workers may get home to their families.”   She told reporters that  perhaps if  she had heard  from Lakeland  that  the company was sorry that this happened instead of “I’m sorry for your loss”, that she might have found closure.

“We are truly thankful for the recommendations that are directed to us” says WorkSafe BC spokesperson Trish Knight Chernecki  “We will take them seriously and examine them carefully.”

Coroner’s Counsel , John Orr, says  although the  recommendations are not binding,  the Coroner’s Service has seen  compliance  when  previous recommendations have been made “Generally  they (recommendations) are very effective”  he says  the Coroner’s Service follows up to see what’s happening with the  recommendations “We always get responses back, people are  responsive to recommendations to a Coroner’s Inquest and historically, they’ve made amazing  changes in  society.”

Sinclar Group President Greg Stewart ( in photo at right) greg stewart offered thanks to the jury  members for their “service to the community and their desire to help out with this matter, the recommendations I think are  good, so obviously we’ve just received all  the recommendations and we will take some time to review them, but  I certainly do  believe they will  move us toward a safer industry and a safer province.”

“I am incredibly sorry this event has happened” said Stewart ” My  heart  goes out to the families as well as to the injured  employees and their families and the hardship that’s resulted from this.  I hope  somewhere down the future we can get closure,  I’m not  so sure that closure will come from an event ( inquest) like this.”


It really smells around here!

I understand the need to get the justice you feel is deserved, and it is extremely hard to hear, but sometimes an accident is just that – tragic accident.

Read what witnesses who were there had to say. Every accident has a cause. Finger pointing, ignorance , inaction and incompetence tend to hide root cause, sort of like dust does as it settles from the air.

Nothing in this world will not bring back Glenn and Allan. No words, no fines, no incarcerations.

It is a tragedy.

What did the readers learn.

# 1) The workers worked in fear that if they complained too much, they will shut down the mill.

In the Worksafe BC regulations, section 3.12 and 3.13. Every worker is entitled to refuse unsafe work with out penalty or persecution.

The worker informs the dust level is too high and is dangerous to work in, to his immediate supervisor. It is the supervisors responsibility to assess the situation. If he deems it to be safe, and something happens, than the supervisor is in a whole swack of trouble.

If the supervisor accept the complaint and the immediate shift manager does not deal with it, than it goes to the mill manager. The responsibility keeps going up the ladder until it hits the person who signed the health and safety program.

The other avenues is to get the union and WCB involved.

#2) The other failure lies with the BC ambulance services.

The policy writers were so concerned by placing words to protect their butts, they failed to recognize that those words prevented the emergency workers to do the job that they signed on for. The job is to make an immediate assessment of the situation to determine what needs to be done to make a difference. Like firefighters, the expectation of risk is known to them when they took on the job. But pencil pushers wanted to protect their butts.

That is my opinion, Don’t let the losses of Glenn and Allan be in vain, make the difference

It is up to the workers to hold managements feet to the fire. wouldn’t it have been better to complain then result that happened.

Where was the union and the safety committee? Lets hope that they too have learned from this tragedy. I guess hind sight is 20/20.

Remember, take an active part in you union its the only protection you have on the job site.

He Spoke: You do realise that paramedics are NOT rescue personnel. They aren’t the ones to stand in harms way like firefighters or police…..

At no time did a paramedic ever sign up to risk their lives to the same degree as those firemen or cops.

Paramedics receive neither the training nor the appropriate equipment to attempt that kind of rescue.

When people go into those situations untrained, they end up injured or dead. Then they are no good to those they’ve come to treat and transport to hospital.

More inter-agency training is the key, so that every agency responding understands their responsibilities and limitations and the responsibility and limitations of the other agencies. That is a recommendation that will really count.

I notice that they did not put blame on the people that just had to see it for themselves and had the overpasses blocked with cars parked on both sides so that the ambulances could not get past.

PGCoffeeAdict.. This is true.. The Sullivan mine incident was the game changer on how BCAS responds to incidents.. As well BC uses the incident command system which was developed based on inquests from the California wildfire fatalities and most recentl incident command was re done based on recommendations from 9-11.

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