Impact of Monday's sawmill explosion in Prince George, British Columbia, limited because diligence of Carrier Lumber in removing dust prevented potentially more harmful secondary dust explosion, says company president; worker suffered minor burns

BRANTFORD, Ontario , July 24, 2013 () – An explosion that injured a worker in a Prince George sawmill Monday did not cause a potentially more-harmful secondary dust explosion because the mill was diligent in removing the dust, says the mill owner, Carrier Lumber president Bill Kordyban.

An initial or primary explosion can disturb fine dust that has accumulated in areas such as rafters, which once airborne can cause a large explosion known as a secondary explosion.

The incident Monday afternoon comes amid continuing heightened sensitivity around two sawmill explosions last year in northern B.C. that killed four workers and injured dozens.

The explosion at Carrier Lumber happened the same day as Lakeland Mills in Prince George, the site of the second of the two deadly explosions last year, held an official groundbreaking ceremony for its new mill.

The worker injured Monday was taken to hospital with minor burns and released several hours later.

The planer mill remained shut down Tuesday as WorkSafeBC started an investigation. Al Johnson, WorkSafe-BC's vice-president of prevention, said it was too early to speculate on a cause or say how long the investigation

would take. It's not completely clear what happened Monday afternoon, but Kordyban said it appears the wood shavings and sawdust collection system was shut down because of a small fire.

When the system was restarted, a pipe that carries the shavings and sawdust from the mill's planer building (where rough boards are planed smooth) exploded, causing another fire.

ghoekstra@vancouversun.com

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