A photo of the Elkview site after the incident, courtesy of USW Local 9346.

Dryer incident at Teck Elkview Operations

Locals report hearing loud bang

The United Steel Workers union 9346 is reminding workers of their rights to refuse unsafe work, in light of what they are considering to be a dryer explosion that took place on January 17 at Teck Elkview Operations.

The eruption occurred at aproximately 4:35 p.m., to which the mine rescue response team responded.

Teck Coal said in a statement that the incident was a significant pressure event at the dryer.

“There were no adverse health or environmental impacts,” Teck said in the statement. “Work is ongoing to assess the extent of the damage and the potential impact on production.”

The site is operating at a lower production rate for the time being and Teck could not specify how long the affected machinery would be out of operation, or an estimation of production losses.

There are no reported injuries from the incident, which is the third at the site this year.

“A thorough investigation is currently underway involving Teck management, our Union (USW Local 9346), and third-party subject matter experts in an effort to determine root cause, the extent of the damage, and to ultimately create a plan to prevent any further similar incidents,” said Steve Kallies, Vice President and Health and Safety Chair for USW Local 9346 at the Elkview Operations. “Our Union is deeply concerned for the health and safety of all the workers at our worksite and we will continue to advocate on their behalf to prevent injury, illness, and possible fatalities.”

The Union is expressing concerns over the incidents, and say that a fourth incident could easily result in casualties.

“We believe that we almost lost two of our co-workers, friends and neighbours earlier this week,” said a post on their safety update website. “No job is worth our life.”

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