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WorkSafeBC shares numbers on combustible dust initiative

June 27, 2017 - In 2016, WorkSafeBC continued its focus on combustible dust and undertook formal inspection initiatives to verify compliance with combustible dust requirements and to ensure the presence of effective combustible dust management programs in all B.C. sawmills.

June 27, 2017  By Darrin McCaskill

All operating sawmills were inspected at least once under the Manufacturing High Risk Strategy and approximately 75 per cent received multiple combustible dust focused inspections as part of the 2016 Combustible Dust Sawmill Inspection Initiative.

The Results:

  • In total, 252 combustible dust inspections were conducted at 117 sawmill locations. In 246 of the inspections no combustible dust orders were issued. Only six combustible dust orders were issued at six locations. This translated into a compliance rate of 98 per cent.
  • In terms of the six locations that were issued combustible dust orders, the circumstances did not present a high risk of serious injury to workers. The violations related to combustible program deficiencies that were remedied and confirmed to be remedied in follow up inspections.
  • No Stop Work Orders were issued – meaning officers did not encounter situations that presented a risk of serious injury or risk of a catastrophic event.
  • No penalties were imposed.
  • One warning letter was issued to a sawmill due to repeat violations with respect to deficiencies with the employer’s implementation of its combustible dust management program.

WorkSafeBC’s Combustible Dust Sawmill Inspection Initiative will continue 2017 combined with inspections focussed on two other main risks: guarding and lock-out.

Learn more about combustible dust and how to reduce risks


Darrin McCaskill is the director of Programs and Initiatives for WorkSafeBC. 

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