Penalties not enough for sawmill explosion: critics

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver

The B.C. government has levied a financial penalty to the owners of a sawmill where an explosion killed two workers in 2012.

Babine Forest Products must pay more than $1 million for the incident, about 90% of that in the form of a claims cost levy for WorksafeBC.

On Jan. 20, 2012 a fire and explosion took the lives of Robert Luggi and Carl Charlie, and impacted the economy and psyche of the small northern town of Burns Lake.

In a release Thursday, WorksafeBC stressed the fine was not meant to put a value of the lives of those killed.

“The dollar value of a penalty or levy does not and cannot reflect the loss of lives, and the pain and suffering of workers and families,” said the release.

The authority also said other parties, including family members of the deceased, can file an appeal of the fine.

But the BC NDP Leader Adrian Dix said the fine portion of the penalty — just under $100,000 — is not enough and accused WorksafeBC of being “fundamentally broken.”

Dix said the penalties indicated the authority priorities are on cost-recovery and spin rather than workers’ lives.

“Put simply, killing two workers and injuring 19 others will cost the company $97,500. That’s the value WorkSafe BC has put on human life,” said Dix in a statement.

He also took aim at the ruling BC Liberals, faulting them for criminal charges not being laid in the case.




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