2016.6 Dust Collection and Remediation in School Wood ShopsFebruary 29, 2016
2016.6 Dust Collection and Remediation in School Wood Shops
Submitted by: Kootenay Lake DPAC, SD#8
Be it resolved that
BCCPAC advocate for all school districts to test wood shop dust collection systems in all schools for compliance with current WorkSafeBC and BC Fire Code requirements.
Be it further resolved that:
All costs for testing and remediation of school wood shops to current WorkSafeBC and BC Fire Code requirements be fully funded by the government of BC without reducing regular school operating and capital grants.
And that testing and remediation work to current standards be completed by December 31, 2017.
Proposer’s Position Statement Supporting the Resolution:
Explosions in two BC sawmills in 2012 resulting in deaths and severe injuries revealed the danger of combustible wood dust from inadequate exhaust systems, maintenance and cleaning practices. Furthermore, there are serious respiratory concerns related to inhaling quantities of wood dust, such as asthma and decreased lung capacity (https://work.alberta.ca/documents/WHS-PUB_ch045.pdf).
The health and safety of our children is paramount. Inadequate dust collection, exhaust and cleaning practices put our children, and school staff, at risk. School wood shops are similar to industrial workplaces and should be mandated to meet the same health and safety standards (http://www2.worksafebc.com/Publications/OHSRegulation/Policies-WorkersCompensationAct.asp#SectionNumber:D3-115-3). Our school boards have a legal duty of care towards students based on probability of injury, potential severity of injury and the costs of reducing risk. A recent dust collection audit in SD#8 (Kootenay Lake) concluded that NO school wood shops were completely compliant with current WorksafeBC and BC Fire Code standards (p.321-346 in http://www.sd8.bc.ca/committees/financeoperations/AgendaFO-01122016.pdf).
Remediation of one wood shop at one SD#8 high school (http://www2.worksafebc.com/Portals/WoodProducts/Prevention-Sawmills.asp?ReportID=37458#guidelines) is estimated to cost between $750,000 and $1,000,000, with lower costs at the other eight schools. Depending on how many of the recommendations are implemented, remediation costs will exceed $2,000,000. SD#8 has approached the Ministry of Education to fund remediation work, however to date, no funds have been forthcoming (routine capital funds for dust collection systems were only given to two schools in the province this year totalling under $300,000 (http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/administration/resource-management/capital-planning/routine-capital-projects-2015-16.pdf).
With a recent facilities’ review concluding that under current funding models SD#8 has over $83 million of deferred maintenance costs WITHOUT bringing wood shops up to health and safety standards, funding remediation work from within capital budgets and annual facilities grants in the short term is not feasible and leaves our children at risk of serious health impacts, injury or worse.
BC School Boards
Ministry of Education
Minister of Health
Minister of Finance
BC School Trustees’ Association
BC School Superintendents’ Association
BC Teachers’ Federation
BC Principals and Vice Principals’ Association
BC Association of School Business Officials
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