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The Voice of Canada’s growing pellet sector
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    Heating with wood pellets is an effective way to help in the fight against climate change.

  • Video: Wood Pellet Association of Canada

    Existing coal plants can be cost-effectively repurposed to use wood pellet fuel to help the environment and reduce air pollution.

  • Pellets

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  • Sustainable

    Only 9% of the world’s forest are certified. Over 42% of them are in Canada, making it an ideal source for sustainable wood pellets. | Read More

  • Renewable

    WPAC members rely on sawmill waste and forest harvest residuals for the bulk of their fibre supply, allowing 100% resource use. | Read More

  • Fossil Fuel Alternative

    Whether on their own or co-fired with coal, wood pellets provide a lower carbon footprint and renewable energy source. | Read More

  • Innovative

    WPAC continues to support R&D in key wood pellet areas like safety, efficiency, fuel stability, energy content and more. | Read More

The Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC) held a workshop on conducting incident investigations at the Westin Vancouver Airport Hotel on Nov. 20. This workshop was produced in co-operation with WorkSafeBC and media partner Canadian Biomass magazine. The 35 participants included pellet plant operators, maintenance personnel, and representatives from insurance companies, universities, fire detection equipment suppliers, and WorkSafeBC.

incident_investigations_copy.jpegThis workshop was part of the collaboration between WPAC and WorkSafeBC on implementing Process Safety Management (PSM) in the wood pellet industry. PSM focuses on preventing high-impact process catastrophes: fires, explosions, accidental chemical releases, and structural collapses. Our approach to PSM includes identifying potential major unwanted events and the critical safeguards for preventing such events, and in developing the verification procedures required to ensure that the critical controls are properly maintained.

Incident investigations are an important PSM element. A formal investigation must be carried out any time a workplace incident results in a serious injury or death, an injury requiring medical treatment, near misses that have the potential to cause serious injury, major structural failures, or the major release of hazardous substances. The purpose of an incident investigation is to analyze the facts and circumstances of the incident in order to identify the underlying factors that caused the incident so as to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents. In British Columbia, the legal requirements for incident investigations are established in division 10 of the Workers’ Compensation Act, and parts 21 and 24 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

There are four stages to incident investigations:

1. a preliminary investigation which must be filed within 24 hours;
2. a report on interim corrective actions;
3. a full investigation which must be submitted to WorkSafeBC within 30 days; and
4. a report on full corrective actions.

A minimum of two people are needed for an incident investigation. There must be at least one worker representative. Serious incidents will have larger investigative teams. Team skills and knowledge should include occupational health and safety fundamentals; work processes, procedures, persons, and industrial relations environment for the particular situation; the ability to conduct and record interviews effectively; the requirements for documents, records, and data collection; and the ability to analyze the data gathered to determine findings and reach recommendations. Team members could include knowledgeable employees, supervisors, safety officers, the health and safety committee, external experts and emergency responders.

An incident investigation report will include information on:

• The employer
• The injured persons
• The place, date and time of the incident
• The type of incident – i.e. death, injury, structural failure etc.
• Names of witnesses
• A detailed timeline and description of the event
• Contributing unsafe conditions
• Corrective actions complete with persons responsible and timelines for completing the corrective actions.

During the workshop, participants prepared mock incident investigation reports for several real-life incidents. This enabled participants to analyze and discuss the root causes of these incidents and to recommend corrective actions to prevent their reoccurrence.

WPAC’s Safety Committee is dedicated to enhancing our industry’s safety culture, to providing training opportunities for all industry participants and to eliminating 100 per cent of all workplace injuries. This workshop has taught us to use incident investigations to learn the root causes of incidents and to prevent them from reoccurring in the future.

Next up: we are planning for a silo fire suppression and prevention workshop to be held in February 2019. Stay tuned.

Gordon Murray is the executive director of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada.

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WPAC Safety Committee

To find more information about the WPAC Safety Committee and safety resources, please click here

Power Generation


Sustainable power

The vast majority of Canadian wood pellets are made from sawmill residuals - sawdust. The rest are made from the residuals from harvesting operations for sawmills and pulp mills, or low-grade timber from forest industry harvest sites that has no other economic value. Think firewood. Read more...

Breathing easier - pellet emissions vs coal

Sustainability should be top of mind for any company that wants to stay in the game in today’s world.

As important a role as Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions play, we also need to focus on noxious emissions versus coal.


Industry News


  • Growing value: after overcoming challenges, Skeena Bioenergy looks to the future

    As the forest industry increasingly recognizes the need to use as much fibre as possible, more and more sawmills are exploring the opportunity to produce wood pellets. One such sawmill is Skeena Sawmills, based in Terrace, B.C.  In 2018, the[…]

  • Critical report of Canadian logging practices are ‘misleading, flawed,’ say companies

    Criticism of Ontario’s and Quebec’s logging practices, made by the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), are misleading, say Resolute Forest Products, Domtar and Aditya Birla Group. NRDC’s report makes claims of overharvesting, leaving woodland caribou unprotected and not considering[…]


The Pellet Advantage

Efficient and Plentiful Production

Wood Pellet Association of Canada members are world leaders in the design and operation of modern pellet plants.


Innovating our way to a safer, better product

Wood pellets are a safe, reliable modern fuel. But they are still a fuel, requiring care in producing, shipping and storing.


Renewable and sustainable? Energy really can grow on trees.

There is no single energy source capable of solving our dependence on fossil fuels. Instead we need to look to a mix of new fuels, including wood pellets.


Argus Wood Pellet Index

US$ per metric tonneArgus Wood Pellet Index

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