Manufacturers’ Advisory Group Wood Dust Management Web Portal

British Columbia’s wood products manufacturers have come together in an unprecedented, voluntary collaboration to advance research and best practices in improving mill safety in response to the devastating explosions at Babine Forest Products and Lakeland Mills. Our aim with this portal is to widely share our knowledge with industry and partners.

MAG participant companies

mag_ainsworth mag_canfor mag_canfor mag_conifex mag_dunkley mag_hamptonaffiliates
mag_interfor mag_sinclar mag_tolko mag_westfraser
mag_wfp 01_mag_woodbywy


Free assistance available to sawmill industry on combustible dust control and mitigation

The BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC) in conjunction with the Manufacturers’ Advisory Group (MAG) are overseeing a team of technical expert advisors for all sawmills in BC. The purpose of the initiative is to provide comprehensive support and expertise to the sawmill industry on combustible dust control and mitigation at no cost to the industry.

If you would like to have a technical advisor visit your site or require additional information about this initiative, please contact the BCFSC at 1-877-741-1060 or email:

Bulletin – Assessing Areas of Combustible Dust Accumulation

A number of industry stakeholders have asked for clarification on the approach prevention officers are taking with respect to determining the area to be assessed for combustible wood dust accumulations. Current officer instructions and WorkSafeBC’s OHS Guideline G5.81 limit wood dust accumulations to 1/8” over 5% of a given work area. Stakeholders are requesting clarification of what prevention officers will consider to be a given work area for determination of the 5%.
View bulletin

mag_news_07Sawmills — Investigations, inspections, and industry resources

WorkSafe BC has developed a series of instructive materials designed to heighten awareness of combustible wood dust hazards, and to highlight everyone’s responsibility for workplace safety, including the right to refuse work under unsafe conditions that could lead to wood dust fire or explosion. View the tools/resources on the WorkSafe BC website at:

mag_news_06Joint statement on sawmill safety and sustained compliance

VICTORIA – Government, the forest industry, organized labour and WorkSafeBC have issued the following statement today following their March 28 meeting in Vancouver focused on combustible dust and sawmill safety… View the statement.

mag_news_05Sawmills safer than ever

Re: Major B.C. forest companies named in stop-work orders, March 4 and Sawmills need to improve wood dust cleanup: WorkSafeBC, March 5. In their report, WorkSafeBC recognizes operators have made substantial efforts in managing combustible dust in their sawmills and this has resulted in notable progress…. View the article.

mag_news_04Evolution of an Industry

At Canfor’s Prince George Sawmill, north of the city centre, a giant vacuum system – a Hoover on steroids – looms over the mill like a strange spacecraft, shiny aluminum pipes leading into the cylindrical top. At its base, it narrows to a nozzle for disposing of the sawdust it collects daily… View the article.

mag_news_02Tackling sawmill dust together

On the morning of April 24, 2012, Canfor president Don Kayne awoke in Vancouver to a world that had changed overnight. The violent explosion the night before at a competitor’s sawmill in Prince George, Lakeland Mills, was the second mill explosion within three months. Something – possibly sawdust from dry, beetle-killed timber – had turned two sawmills into deadly workplaces… View the article.

mag_news_03Before Babine and After Babine

PRINCE GEORGE – In the basement of Canfor’s Isle Pierre sawmill, plant manager Joe Kavanagh wiped his gloved hand across a protective railing and held it up, palm open. The glove shows a slight discolouration from a thin film of sawdust. Two years ago, that railing, in a remote corner of the mill basement, could have been blanketed in 10 centimetres of sawdust, he said… View the article.

mag_news_01BC Safety Authority Lieutenant-Governor Safety Award

The Manufacturers Advisory Group was proud to receive the BC Safety Authority Lieutenant-Governor Safety Award. Read more about the award in the BC Safety Authority news release, here.


mag_news_08Invitation to Wood Products Producers in BC (May 8th, 9th, 23rd)

As part of the wood dust management initiative being carried out by the Manufacturers Advisory Group (MAG) we would like to engage with non-MAG companies by sharing with you what we have accomplished in risk reduction associated with sawmill dust produced in sawmill operations. More info.

Free NFPA training seminar on preventing fires and explosions in wood products manufacturing facilities (May 22, 28, 29th)

Combustible dusts pose a risk of fire and explosion when specific conditions exist.  Awareness of these conditions is the first step towards establishing an effective combustible dust hazard control program. It is critical that the management and staff of sawmills and other wood products manufacturing facilities gain knowledge in the area of hazard recognition, evaluation and analysis of potential explosion situations, and the steps required to eliminate the potential of a fire or explosion.

This free seminar is provided by WorkSafeBC and is strongly supported by the CFPA.
More info

MAG Resources

Guides and Standards
  • Wood Dust Mitigation and Control Audit, July 2014 PDF
  • Wood Dust Mitigation and Control Audit Auditor Worksheet, Questionnaire and Guideline, July 2014 PDF
  • Fire Safety Plan Development Guide PDF
  • Sawmill Wood Dust Sampling Analysis and Explosibility PDF
  • Combustible Dust Hazards: Awareness & Safeguarding PDF
Research and Analysis on Wood Dust
  • Sawmill Wood Dust Sampling Analysis and Explosibility PDF
  • FPInnovations Literature Review – Wood Dust Explosions PDF
  • Sawmill Wood Dust Sampling and Measurement PDF
Fact Sheets
  • Managing Wood Dust to Ensure Safer Mills PDF
  • Joint Industry Communiqué on Mill Safety PDF

Fire Inspection and Prevention Initiative (FIPI)

Training Resources
  • Training resources for workers, supervisors, and employers in wood processing facilities. LINK

WorkSafe BC Resources

Combustible wood dust meeting resources
  • Combustible Wood Dust: Awareness and Controls PDF
  • What is Combustible Wood Dust? PDF
  • Crew Talk Backgrounder for Supervisors and Safety Managers PDF
  • Handout for Workers PDF
  • Wood Dust Refusal for Unsafe Work PDF
  • Work Dust Right to Refuse Bulletin PDF
  • Wood Dust in Sawmills: Compilation of Industry Best Practices May 4, 2012 PDF
  • Combustible Dust Strategy – Phase 1 (Sawmills) April 2012 PDF

  • Best Practices Sawmill Dust Control Workgroup May 2, 2012 PDF
Hazard alerts
  • Wood Dust Collection System Design and Inspection June 2013 LINK
  • Combustible Dust Winter Alert – Increased Risk in Winter 2012 PDF
  • Gear Reducer Hazard July 2012 PDF
Information Bulletins
  • Combustible Dust Strategy (Phase II) July 3, 2012 PDF
  • Clean-up of Hazardous Combustible Dust 2012 PDF

BC Safety Authority

  • Recommendations Report: Babine Forest Products – Explosion and Fire January 2013 PDF
Safety Orders
  • Gas Safety Order: Combustible Dust Hazard in Wood Processing Facilities May 7, 2013 PDF
  • Electrical Safety Order: Electrical Equipment Located in Sawmills May 8, 2013 PDF
  • Electrical Equipment Located in Wood Pellet Manufacturing Plants Sept. 18, 2012 PDF
  • Consultation on Draft Safety Order SO-ASA-2013-01: Combustible Dust Hazard to Regulated Electrical & Gas Equipment Located in Wood Processing Facilities Jan. 23, 2013 to March 15, 2013 LINK

General Information

  • Take More Action to Prevent Dust Explosions Video