Steelworkers Launch Petition Calling For Public Inquiry into Sawmill Explosions

BURNABY, BC, April 1, 2015 – The United Steelworkers today launched a petition demanding Premier Christy Clark call a public inquiry into the explosions of the Babine and Lakeland sawmills.

The renewed call for a public inquiry comes as a coroner’s inquest has been adjourned indefinitely after revelations that the company conducted its own forensic investigation of the Lakeland sawmill explosion and WorkSafeBC rejected the company’s attempt to share it with the agency.

United Steelworkers District Director Stephen Hunt says Premier Christy Clark’s promise to provide answers to workers and family members who lost loved ones is not being met by the coroner’s inquest.

“This was a preventable tragedy. The workers complained about the accumulation of explosive wood dust but to date nobody has been held accountable. The questions remain: What caused the explosion? Why did the policies and practices that are supposed to protect workers fail to do so? Why were the investigations by WorkSafeBC so badly botched?” says Hunt.
Hunt says the union supports a public inquiry because it is the only way to get the full facts of the case and hold people accountable.

“Workers, their families and all British Columbians deserve answers, not a cover-up. It’s the Premier’s responsibility to deliver on her promise,” Hunt says.

Steelworkers and their allies will be out in communities gathering signatures to deliver to the Premier.

The petition is also available online at

Stephen Hunt, USW District 3 Director