Vanderhoof finger joint plant fined for dust

WorkSafeBC has fined a Vanderhoof finger joint plant $48,401.84 for hazardous accumulations of wood dust.

The fine against Vanderhoof Specialty Wood Products-NW Wood Preservers was issued in October 2015 after an inspection found accumulations as high as 7.6 centimetres (three inches) in the chipper room and in an old boiler room.

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It was bad enough for the agency to issue a stop-work order until the dust was removed, according to an online posting.

The dust covered more than five per cent of the chipper room's area and in the boiler room, dust coated a gear motor, reducer, foundation ledge, roof beams, wall purlins, and the boiler itself. And 0.3 centimetres (1/8 inch) of dust was in direct contact with electrical disconnect panels.

An average of 27 workers per shift were consequently exposed to a possibility of fire or explosion should the dust have ignited,

"The firm's dust inspection program for the plant was informal and unwritten, and the firm did not shut down the chipper frequently enough in order to clean adequately around it," WorkSafeBC said.

The firm has appealed the decision.

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