Serious injury leads to fine for Mackenzie wood manufacturer

Mackenzie wood manufacturer East Fraser Fiber Co. Ltd. was fined $65,235.12 by WorkSafeBC after a worker suffered serious injuries to her arm when she reached across a ripsaw to clear a piece of wood.

Although the power had been locked out, the ripsaw's eight blades were still spinning when the worker, who was a new employee, made the move according to an online posting by the agency.

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Stored energy in the blades meant they were "still spinning so fast that their movement was imperceptible."

"Lockout procedures for the ripsaw were complex and were not posted anywhere near the machine," WorkSafeBC continued in an online posting on the matter. "The firm failed to ensure that the energy source for a machine that could cause injury was isolated and effectively controlled."

The fine was levied in December 2015 and the firm has since filed an appeal.

In May 2015, WorkSafeBC doubled a fine against East Fraser to $130,470.24 after another worker sustained serious injuries to his arm when he reached into a machine to clear a wood chip from a moving conveyor belt and became entangled in the belt's tail spool.

The fine was increased from $65,235.12 after an investigation found that the tail spool was missing its guarding.

Also in May 2015, East Fraser was fined $65,235.12 after a supervisor in the firm's finger joint manufacturing plant suffered a serious injury to his hand when he reached into a lumber-stacking machine to reposition a board and the machine cycled unexpectedly.

An investigation uncovered numerous violations of WorkSafeBC regulations dealing with de-energization and lockout and accessing and safeguarding machinery.

"As well, during the investigation a prevention officer saw a worker driving a forklift without his seat belt on and with the cab doors open," the agency added.

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