A Maple Ridge sawmill has been fined in excess of $25,000 for unsafe practices – the third fine for the company since 2015.
WorkSafeBC imposed a penalty of $27,206.10 on Partap Forest Products Ltd. along River Road, for what the agency called “repeated and high-risk violations.”
The fine was handed out April 27, after an inspection that revealed many safety risks on the work site.
WorkSafeBC said the firm’s sawmill had several tools and machines with missing or inadequate safeguards.
“The firm failed to ensure that powered equipment had controls positioned or shielded to prevent inadvertent activation, and to ensure safeguards were capable of effectively performing their intended function,” said the agency.
The sawmill also failed to ensure abrasive wheels had protective hoods to contain fragments of the wheel should it break apart, and to ensure gear and chain sprockets were completely enclosed or guarded. All of these were repeated violations, said WorkSafeBC.
In addition, the firm failed to ensure safeguards provided for the protection of workers were not removed.
“These were all high-risk violations,” the workplace safety agency confirmed.
When asked by The News if the company was complying with WorkSafeBC and fixing the safety hazards identified on site, C.J. Saini with Partap Forest Products said the company dealt with the issues “right away.”
“We don’t want our people to get hurt,” he said. “Everything was fixed within a week.”
However, he said, the issues were fixed before the date of the latest fine by WorkSafeBC.
When asked why the company was handed another fine if they had complied with safety issues WorkSafeBC identified, Saini replied, “I can’t discuss this,” saying the company does not give permission for The News to publicize the matter.
The purpose of the WorkSafeBC penalty is to motivate employers to comply with occupational health and safety legislation and regulations, and to keep workplaces safe. These fines are published regularly on the WorkSafeBC website. Included in the public information is the company name, town, amount and reason of fine.
“Manufacturing in B.C. has an injury rate that is 24-per-cent higher than the provincial average,” said WorkSafeBC, noting that in 2022 there were 5,579 time-loss injuries in the manufacturing sector across the province and 860 of the injuries were serious.
The agency cites that manufacturing workers are most at risk of being caught in or struck by machinery — with fractures and lacerations to the fingers, hands, and wrists being the most common injuries.
WorkSafeBC has a manufacturing planned inspectional initiative designed to reduce injuries in the sector through education, consultation, and enforcement.
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