Safety inspectors reexamine closed mill
WorkSafeBC was scheduled to inspect Meadow Creek Cedar again today to see if the sawmill has complied with outstanding safety orders and can be restarted.
The Lardeau Valley operation has been closed for a few weeks following an industrial accident in which an employee, reportedly young and inexperienced, lost parts of three fingers after catching his hand between a live chain and drive sprocket of a belt conveyor.
WorkSafe ordered the company to stop using all machinery that required safeguarding, which effectively shut the operation down.
According to an inspection report, WorkSafe officer Ted Williams met with employer representatives Roland McCulloch, Dak Giles, and Abdul Khan on Friday.
On that visit, Williams wrote, it was established that WorkSafe officers “will not tell them how to reach compliance, only that it must be done and standards and regulation requirements must be met.” The company was supplied with various documents to help them.
“To meet compliance the employer has erected barrier guarding restricting access to areas of the mill,” Williams said. “This has been done rather than guard individual pieces of machinery and equipment.”
The barrier guarding must meet Canadian Standards Association guidelines and not allow anyone to gain access by going over, under, or around the barrier, he added.
The guards are approximately six feet tall and come within six inches of the floor. “Doors have been supplied for entry to these areas and will be locked with access allowed only after all means of energy have been controlled through an effective lock-out,” Williams wrote. “The employer has stated locks applied to these doors will be keyed alike for maintenance persons.”
The company asked about guarding a lumber stacker that during operation must be approached by the operator. Williams responded that there are “shear hazards for workers’ feet during operation if they approach the stacker,” and indicated the company must assess the hazards and establish effective guarding and safe work procedures for the area.
He added that there is a question of “fall protection hazards” for workers, and such areas must be assessed and a safety program established.
Occupational Health and Safety regulations state that an employer must provide a fall protection system when work is being done at a place where a fall of 10 feet or more may occur.
Williams further noted that there were damaged electrical outlets around the lumber stacker, which “must be repaired without delay.”
Other areas of concern included “the lumber drop area which allows workers to access areas where there is a hazard from overhead,” and the possibility of falling to the basement floor at the log deck. Although no orders were given, the company was told the hazard would have to be fixed.
Another inspection was set for today “to ensure compliance has been met.” The company also stated that an occupational health and safety consultant had been contracted to inspect the site.