Noxious smoke forced nine workers to seek medical attention

WorkSafeBC says Parkland Refining failed to promptly report the incident

Noxious smoke forced nine workers to seek medical attention

Nine workers at the Parkland Refining Burnaby facility sought medical attention on Sunday January 21 following an incident that led to the release of heavy, noxious smoke, according to a recent report by WorkSafeBC. The incident, which occurred around 8 am, resulted in nine employees requiring first aid, while four others were evacuated from the site.

WorkSafeBC, responsible for overseeing workplace safety and providing compensation for injured workers, categorized this incident as a major release of a hazardous substance, citing injuries that necessitated immediate medical attention.

The report, dated Wednesday, pointed out that Parkland Refining violated the Workers Compensation Act by failing to promptly report the incident, only notifying authorities after 7 p.m. on Sunday evening. The Act mandates immediate reporting in the case of a major hazardous substance release.

In response to the incident, Parkland Refining issued a statement to CBC News, explaining that they have since been cooperating with WorkSafeBC and had a meeting with the provincial agency on Thursday.

The company confirmed that nine individuals sought first aid on Sunday, as mentioned in the initial WorkSafeBC report, and an additional seven employees sought first aid in the following days. Two individuals who initially received first aid later visited their family medical providers. The company emphasized that reporting to first aid is a precautionary measure aimed at assessing whether medical attention is necessary.

Regarding the incident, the company's website outlined their efforts to safely restart the refinery, with a goal to minimize the impact on the surrounding communities. The statement cautioned residents about the possibility of increased odors, flaring, and visible smoke in the coming days.

As a result of activities at the refinery, Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement on Friday, warning of moderate health risks for much of northern Metro Vancouver until Monday.

Both Parkland Refining and Metro Vancouver have committed to closely monitor air quality in their respective statements. However, the WorkSafeBC inspection report did not provide details on the specific injuries or medical attention required by the nine workers.

While WorkSafeBC issued a compliance order to Parkland Refining for the violation, the order has been marked as closed due to the passing of the reporting timeline. Consequently, the company will not face any financial penalties for this particular incident.

Parkland Refining is expected to submit a comprehensive incident investigation report to WorkSafeBC by February 20, as per the report's requirements.