WorkSafeBC's decision to recommend charges relating to explosion at Lakeland Mills puts onus on Crown Counsel to stand up for worker safety, says United Steelworkers union, claims workers at risk while government, agencies, 'point fingers at each other'
BURNABY, British Columbia
February 24, 2014
– WorkSafeBC's announcement that it is recommending charges under the Workers Compensation Act in connection to the Lakeland Mills explosion puts the onus on Crown Counsel to stand up for worker safety, says the United Steelworkers (USW).
The explosion killed two workers and came only months after an explosion at the Babine Forest Products sawmill in Prince George, B.C. In that case, charges were recommended by WorkSafeBC but were turned down by Crown Counsel.
"While the provincial government and their agencies point fingers at each other, workers in the province continue to be at risk. It's time for Crown Counsel to demonstrate they understand the importance of holding employers accountable for their negligence," says Stephen Hunt, USW District 3 Director.
"Mill workers and their families want to have confidence that the agencies responsible for worker safety are doing their job," said Frank Everitt, President of USW 1-424, based in Prince George. "Our members are committed to ensuring the forest industry is successful but not at the expense of life and limb."
Reports suggest Crown Counsel will make a decision on approving or rejecting the recommended charges by late April.