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Mill deaths prompt changes

A report on WorkSafeBC is calling for a complete overhaul of inspection and investigation methods after two botched probes led to no charges in sawmill blasts that killed four workers.

The recommendations come in a report requested by the provincial government after explosions at the northern BC mills in 2012.

WorkSafe administrator Gordon Macatee says his review provides 43 recommendations, including splitting the current 30-member WorkSafe health and safety investigations team and building a so-called ethical wall between them.

If one team suspects its investigation could lead to criminal charges, it would flip the case to the second crew, which could launch a fresh, untainted probe, gathering evidence and interviews using methods that can stand up in court.

Macatee's report also calls for more stringent mill inspections to identify problems earlier, faster application of penalties and speedier resolution of appeals.

WorkSafe's investigation methods have been harshly criticized after charges were not laid in connection with blasts in Prince George and Burns Lake, where four workers died and dozens more were injured.

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