WorkSafeBC fines Mackenzie sawmill and pulp mill

The owners of a sawmill and a pulp mill in Mackenzie were each fined $75,000, according to an online posting at WorkSafeBC's website.

Canadian Forest Products Ltd. was levied the amount in September after officials notice on two separate occasions, maintenance being performed on machinery without ensuring it was locked out.

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"In the first instance, a worker was leaning over a lumber stacker trying to manually clear a jammed board," WorkSafeBC said. "An emergency stop button on the stacker had been used to shut down the stacker's feeding forks, but this method left other parts open to inadvertent reactivation and did not disconnect the main power supply to the machine.

"In the second instance, a worker was trying to free a broken board from a high-speed lumber planer using an aluminum pry bar. The tip of the pry bar was inches away from one of the still-energized planer heads. Again, the planer's emergency control was used to stop the machine, but it was in an adjacent room that was accessible to other workers to reactivate."

In both cases, WorkSafeBC said the workers were following the firm's written procedures for removing lumber trapped within machinery, but these procedures did not meet lockout requirements.

In addition, the central control mechanisms for the machinery were located out of the line of sight for workers required to clear lumber jams, a routine occurrence at this mill, according to the agency.

In July, Mackenzie Pulp Mill Corporation was fined after a worker crossing a pulp bale conveyer deck at this firm's mill was seriously injured when a co-worker inadvertently started the conveyer.

"Like other workers at the mill, the worker was required to cross the conveyer deck numerous times each shift to manually reposition misaligned pulp bales, where he was obstructed from view from the conveyor control panel location.

"WorkSafeBC's investigation found that the firm did not have safe work procedures or a mechanism in place to isolate and de-energize the conveyer when workers crossed it to reposition bales. The firm failed to ensure that the energy source for a machine that could cause injury, in the event of an unexpected energization or startup, was isolated and effectively controlled."

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