Labour and aboriginal groups are marking the fourth anniversary of the deadly Babine Sawmill explosion with a renewed call for a public inquiry into the blast.
The United Steelworkers, the B.C. Federation of Labour, the First Nations Summit, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and the B.C. Assembly of First Nations have released a joint statement, saying steps must be taken to prevent a similar tragedy from ever happeing.
Steve Hunt, who represents around 200 workers at Babine, says the Coroner’s Inquest left too many questions unanswered.
“We now know that the inspectors who were employed by the Workers Compensation Board probably weren’t adequately trained. One of them testified he couldn’t find the regulations with respect to explosive dust. We wondered what the fire marshals were doing, they were observing excess saw dust, there didn’t seem to be any ability for them to do anything about it.”
Two men died and 20 other people were seriously injured when the sawmill in Burns Lake blew up on January 20th, 2012.
Just months later, a second explosion at the Lakeland Mills in Prince George killed two other men and injured 22 more. Both blasts were linked to wood dust.
Earlier this month, surviving workers from both blasts filed a class action suit against the province and Worksafe BC.