Come By Chance workers splashed with 'oily water,' incident under investigation

Another workplace incident at the Come By Chance refinery is under investigation. Last fall, a worker at the facility, owned by Braya Renewable Fuels, died from injuries sustained during an explosion. (Silverpeak - image credit)
Another workplace incident at the Come By Chance refinery is under investigation. Last fall, a worker at the facility, owned by Braya Renewable Fuels, died from injuries sustained during an explosion. (Silverpeak - image credit)

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is investigating a workplace health and safety incident at the Come By Chance refinery last week.

Refinery owner Braya Renewable Fuels says on Dec. 20, two pipefitters were splashed with a "small amount of oily water" while at work.

"An internal review found that some of the two litres of oily water (97 per cent water and three per cent hydrocarbons) in the area the pipefitters were working in splashed on the workers. The pipe was quickly tightened and the oily water contained. There were no injuries as a result of this incident," Braya spokesperson Karen White said in an email.

"Consistent with safety practices, Braya conducted stand down procedures and reviewed the matter with workers at the site to help prevent something like this from happening again."

The provincial government says its Occupational Health and Safety division learned of the incident the day it happened and dispatched an officer to Come By Chance to investigate.

"As the incident is under active investigation, the department cannot provide specific information at this time," wrote Kathy Dicks-Peyton, a spokesperson for Digital Government and Service NL, in an email.

Dicks-Peyton confirmed there were no injuries and that province did not mandate any work stoppages.

Major renovations underway

It's the latest workplace health and safety incident at the facility, where eight workers were injured following a flash fire on Sept. 2. One of the men died six weeks later in hospital.

Braya is converting the refinery into a facility producing biofuel. It had hoped to launch production earlier this year, but in October, following the deadly flash fire, the company said first production would likely occur in early 2023.

Glenn Nolan, local president for the United Steelworkers union, declined to comment on the latest incident, citing the province's ongoing investigation.

Nolan has been critical of the company's safety protocols. In October, he said the Sept. 2 explosion could have been prevented and called on the provincial government to launch an inquiry.

The province has, so far, not committed to an inquiry. Sarah Stoodley, minister for Digital Government and Service NL, said last fall that before a decision is made, she wants to see the results of an OHS review of the accident.

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