A Coroner’s Inquest jury has just released 33 recommendations after the Lakeland sawmill in Prince George exploded three years ago, killing two workers, and injuring 22 more.
The jury says the RCMP needs to do a better job investigating possible criminal negligence in the workplace.
It also wants the Attorney General of Canada to review the “onus of proof” for prosecuting work-place death cases, as no one was ever criminally charged.
The jury says there needs to be a heavier emphasis on workers’ rights, and that they have the right to refuse work in an unsafe environment.
To address the issue of dust, the jury says Worksafe BC should look at automatic air quality sensors, and have a “safety watch person” on every shift.
The widow of one of the Lakeland sawmill explosion victims is welcoming a jury’s 33 recommendations following a coroner’s inquest into the deaths of Alan Little and Glenn Roche three years ago.
“Employers will learn, and be held accountable for what they are doing.”
Ronda Roche says the inquest exposed the truth.
“A lot of the facts came out, it definitely shows where those failures were, not only with the ownership of the mill, but with Work Safe BC, more on the preventative side, and with education.”
However an inquest cannot incite blame, and that’s why she wanted a public inquiry. Roche says it’s frustrating, and that’s why she wanted a public inquiry.
“As you go through an inquest, the facts are uncovered, but it doesn’t matter what is uncovered throughout the process, there is still no accountability, no justice.”
“I do believe it would have been more sufficient in at least acknowledging accountability.”
Roche says it isn’t over; she will fight the company as it appeals heavy fines.
Another inquiry into the Burns Lake sawmill explosion will be held in July.