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Agency calls on mills to be vigilant

Wood manufacturers need to take steps to reduce the increased risk of dust explosions during the winter, warns WorkSafeBC.

November 9, 2012  By  John Tenpenny

In a hazard alert issued last week, the province’s chief workplace safety agency said during cold winter months, dust is easier to disperse and ignite because of low humidity.

According to a report by The Vancouver Sun, WorkSafeBC does not recommend any specific measures to reduce the risk of dust explosions during winter, but calls on companies to assess the “additional risks.”

The warning was issued to a wide range of plants: sawmills; plywood, pellet and secondary manufacturers; and pulp and paper mills.

“The reason we put this out was that we were seeing a number of mills using water misting as a means of dust suppression, or water for cleanup,” Work-SafeBC spokeswoman Megan Johnston said in an email.


“Given the cold temperatures in many parts of the province, we wanted to make sure that employers did not revert to past, less-effective practices.”

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