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B.C. mill fined $56K over pellet plant explosion that injured three

BURNS LAKE, B.C. — British Columbia's workers' compensation authority has fined a Burns Lake company $56,000 in the wake of a 2014 explosion at a wood pellet plant that injured three workers.

A WorkSafeBC investigation report concluded that workers failed to follow procedures before opening up a burner for a routine cleaning, including not shutting off a combustion fan before the equipment had cooled sufficiently.

The explosion was caused by a build up of gases in the burner, sparked by a combination of residual heat and a sudden inflow of oxygen.

The report says the penalty against Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. is the result of the company's failure to maintain safe working conditions and to exercise due diligence.

Burns Lake was the scene of another mill explosion in 2012, which saw two workers killed and 19 others injured at a plant owned by Babine Forest Products.

A coroner's inquest found the deaths were accidental, but the United Steelworkers union is calling for a public inquiry into both the 2012 Burns Lake explosion and another fatal blast that happened at Lakeland Mills in Prince George a few months later.

The Canadian Press

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