Minister Bond Responds to Babine Inquest Recommendations
Prince George, B.C. – Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour Shirley Bond has responded to the recommendations of the jury at the B.C. Coroners Service inquest into the Babine Forest Products mill explosion in 2012.
The jury issued two recommendations pertaining to the jurisdictions Bond is responsible for. The first called for an expansion of Section 132 of the Workers Compensation Act to give a WorkSafeBC officer the power to address issues that are unresolved at the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee for an extended period of time. Evidence at the inquest revealed that the wood dust issue remained unresolved for a long period of time and WorkSafeBC officer intervention may have addressed and highlighted the need for dust mitigation.
The other recommendation called for an amendment to Section 176(2) of the Workers Compensation Act to ensure that a copy of the full incident investigation report is provided to the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee or the worker representative. Evidence indicated that workers were not informed about results of investigation reports and that knowledge of such reports can be used for training information and safety awareness.
Minister Bond says “This has been a very difficult process for the community and the families involved and again I want to extend my condolences to those who were injured or lost loved ones in the Babine mill tragedy.
“I want to thank the inquest jury for these recommendations that will help to guide future actions to keep workers safe. The jury has issued recommendations to a wide variety of agencies including the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour, to various other provincial government bodies and external organizations.
“The Babine Forest Products Inquest (July 31, 2015) jury recommendations received today will be reviewed and inform the efforts already underway across government to ensure worker safety. These efforts include the complete review of the jury recommendations from the Lakeland Mill Inquest (May 14, 2015). Government intends to report back in writing to the coroner on the work being done on all of the recommendations.”