A photo of a similar sawyer station to the one involved in a serious incident that hospitalized an employee at G & R Cedar. WorkSafeBC/Screengrab

No WorkSafeBC issues found at Abbotsford mill where man hit by 44” saw

Worker adequately trained, supervised, an experienced, but failed to secure saw with arbor nut

WorkSafeBC investigators have concluded that an incident in which a man was struck by a newly replaced, 44-inch saw was the result of “the independent action of an otherwise trained, experienced, and adequately supervised worker.”

The man, only identified in the report by his job title, sawyer, “sustained serious injuries” in the Sept. 21, 2018 incident at G & R Cedar, according to the WorkSafeBC report obtained by The News through a freedom of information request.

At around 11:30 a.m. that day, the sawyer began to replace the saw, which was powered by a 40-horsepower electric motor, after finishing trimming shingles.

RELATED: ‘Serious incident’ sends Abbotsford area worker to hospital

However, when he reassembled the saw, the sawyer did not reattach an arbour nut on the saw before he returned to the station to use the saw just after noon that day.

“After 2 seconds, the Sawyer could tell something was wrong and pressed the same switches to de-energize the saw. At 12:05:00 the saw blade came off the arbour. The Sawyer made an attempt to move out of the sawyer station; however, the saw blade came off so quickly that he was not able to move out of the way,” the report reads.

The injuries suffered by the sawyer are redacted from the report, and when contacted, the Office of the Freedom of Information and Privacy said the injury was considered personal information.

The actions of the workplace safety officer are also redacted from the report.

The report notes that G & R’s safety procedures included saw operation, head saw blade change and lockout procedures, the middle of which includes instructions to tighten the arbour nut.

RELATED: WorkSafeBC finds violations at site of Abbotsford construction injury

“By all accounts the Sawyer was highly experienced and trained. The investigation showed the Sawyer was qualified to be a sawyer,” the report reads.

“[T]he Sawyer failed to reattach the arbour nut once a sharp saw blade was placed back on the arbour. Missing this critical step allowed the saw blade to easily come off the arbour. If the arbour nut had been placed on the arbour and tightened, the saw blade would not have come off the arbour once the saw was energized.

“The investigation determined that the failure to replace the arbour nut was the independent action of an otherwise trained, experienced, and adequately supervised worker.”

Although the report found no inadequacies at the workplace, it does note that G & R now expects sawyers to hang the arbor nut at the machine’s start/stop buttons during saw replacement to avoid the arbor nut being forgotten in the process.

The WorkSafeBC investigation is intended to determine the cause of the incident to prevent similar incidents in the future, as well as to potentially include enforcement action taken per the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation in response to the investigation.

No such enforcement actions were listed in the document.

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