Babine mill will appeal fine

Babine Forest Products Ltd. will appeal last week’s Worksafe BC order that it pay $1.01 million.

Babine Forest Products Ltd. (BFP) will appeal last week’s Worksafe BC order that it pay $1.01 million in administrative penalties and claims cost levies in connection with the fatal January 2012 fire at its sawmill here.

Although the Workers Compensation Act of B.C. authorizes B.C.’s safety watchdog to issue fines and penalties in connection with workplace accidents, it also gives employers, workers, and other affected parties the right to appeal them. BFP spokesmen said the company fully intends to exercise its rights in this regard.

“We intend to appeal these proposed fines through the appropriate process,” said the company in a statement issued April 3.

Babine Forest Products officials said they were disappointed with Worksafe BC’s decision, particularly in light of the fact that the province’s criminal justice branch announced several months ago that it wouldn’t be pursuing criminal charges against the company.

“We were disappointed to learn today that Worksafe BC is attempting to fine Babine Forest Products Ltd. approximately $1 million related to the tragic accident that occurred on Jan. 20, 2012 in Burns Lake,” stated company officials in their statement. “The Crown counsel determined that evidence of Babine’s due diligence in managing foreseeable risks was enough to counter the charges recommended by Worksafe BC under the Workers Compensation Act. Crown counsel also concluded that Worksafe BC did not perform an appropriate investigation of the accident. Based on that independent ruling, no charges were pursued.

“For Worksafe BC to now propose a significant administrative penalty seems disingenuous, especially in light of this record and the fact that Worksafe BC must weigh the same considerations of due diligence as the Crown.”

Babine Forest Products has less than 90 days to request that Worksafe BC’s Review Division take a second look at the penalty and claims cost levy imposed April 3. If dissatisfied with the Review Division’s findings, the company can then file an appeal with the Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal.

While BFP officials were adamant about their intention to appeal last week’s order, they stated that their decision “should not be taken out of context.”

“Babine regrets terribly the tragic accident that occurred the night of Jan. 20, 2012,” they stressed. “Our sorrow, both for our people impacted and the community of Burns Lake, will always be present.”

Babine Forest Products officials said that since the fatal fire, they have worked diligently with other industry leaders to analyze dust risks and develop related processes to ensure incidents like the one that destroyed the Babine mill “never happen again.” The company, they added, has invested heavily in specialized dust control equipment.

“Since the accident, we have installed millions of dollars of specialized equipment at Decker Lake (Forest Products) and the new Babine sawmill to make our operations cleaner and safer in relation to this risk,” the spokesmen stated. “We have recently started up the new sawmill at Burns Lake and will continue to focus on making this a safe start-up for our employees and a successful long-term business for our stakeholders.”


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

Just Posted

The track washrooms will be opened up again next year in May. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Toilets, sinks torn off, graffiti on walls at the Burns Lake track washroom

“Seems to happen once or twice a year” says the Village CAO on the vandalized track washroom

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, Cullen apologize for Stikine candidate’s comments about Haida candidate

Nathan Cullen had made insensitive comments about Roy Jones Jr. Cheexial

The pile burning will occur to the south of François Lake. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
Pile burning and rehab work on three areas south of François Lake

Smoke might be visible for Burns Lake and neighboring areas

Participants earlier this year in March for Lakes Loppet at the ski club. (Lakes District News file photo)
How is Omineca Ski Club prepping for this ski season?

Covid restrictions, social distancing but ski season to continue

FOR WEB ONLY. (Lakes District News file photo)
Question Bill C-7, says this reader

Editor: Have you ever felt strongly convicted about something one day and… Continue reading

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read