Canadian Biomass Magazine

WPAC commits to further safety improvements

March 22, 2018
By Gord Murray WPAC executive director

March 22, 2018 - The Wood Pellet Association of Canada and our members are committed to making consistent, measurable progress on safety performance. We believe that all injuries and occupational illnesses are preventable, and are committed to a goal of zero for all of them.

WPAC Safety Committee update

WPAC’s Safety Committee has completed its 2018 Work Plan. As in past years, we are publishing the Work Plan as a means of being held publicly accountable for our performance. The Safety Committee’s current year focus areas include:

  • Process safety management: Delivering two PSM training workshops.
  • Silo fires: Developing risk assessment tools and holding a training workshop.
  • Plant operator training and use of alarms: Developing a training program and operator assessment procedure.
  • Combustible dust management in raw material storage areas: Developing best practices documents and holding a refresher workshop.
  • Combustible gas and confined space entry: Developing best practices documents and holding a training workshop.
  • Annual plant safety drills: Identifying and holding key safety drills.
  • Safety forum: Planning and holding a multi-sector safety forum in Prince George in June.
  • Incident reporting: Continuing to record incident data and near misses and analyzing such data to identify and correct trends.
  • Communications: Holding monthly safety committee meetings to monitor progress on the 2018 Work Plan. Meeting regularly with government safety regulators. Beginning a safety collaboration with the European Pellet Council.

The Safety Committee’s practice is to hold a one-hour conference call on the second Wednesday of each month. The agenda for each call includes: (1) reviewing progress by committee members on action items agreed to on the previous conference call, (2) bringing forward new tasks from the annual work plan, (3) reviewing any incidents which may have occurred since the previous call, and (4) one committee member sharing a safety tip from that member’s own operations. Committee members are disciplined about following the agenda and there is no time wasted. Each call ends in precisely one hour.

Safety Committee members include:

  • Scott Bax, Pinnacle Renewable Energy (Chair)
  • Gordon Murray, WPAC (Secretary)
  • John Arsenault, QWEB
  • Sheldon Wheeler, Canfor
  • Kevin Erikson, Caribou Biomass
  • Matthew Franks, Canfor
  • Corey Gardiner, Aon Reed Stenhouse
  • Brian Letkemann, Tolko Industries
  • Darren Marutt, Pacific BioEnergy
  • Staffan Melin, WPAC
  • Dustin Meierhofer, BCFSC
  • Steve Mueller, Pinnacle Renewable Energy
  • Christine Paradis, Foothills Forest Products
  • Travis Peterson, Canfor
  • Darrell Robinson, Shaw Resources
  • James Snow, Nechako/Premium Pellet
  • John Stirling, Princeton Standard Pellet Corporation
  • John Swaan, FutureMetrics
  • Robert Tarˇon, Tolko Industries
  • Sheldon Wheeler, Canfor
  • Troy Withey, West Fraser

New members are always welcome and there is no cost to participate.

Safety forum
WPAC’s Safety Committee is planning to hold a multi-sector safety forum in Prince George on June 6, 2018 as part of the Canadian Bioeconomy Conference & Exhibition.

We welcome participation from all forest manufacturing sectors: lumber, pulp and paper, plywood, OSB, and pellets.
For more information, contact WPAC’s executive director, Gordon Murray, by telephone at (250) 837-8821 or email at A copy of the 2018 Safety Work report is available at under the publications tab.



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