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Work restrictions lifted at Come By Chance refinery as fire investigation continues

A flash fire at the refinery in Come By Chance on Sept. 2 injured eight workers.  (Sarah Sears/CBC - image credit)
A flash fire at the refinery in Come By Chance on Sept. 2 injured eight workers. (Sarah Sears/CBC - image credit)

Work restrictions at the Come By Chance refinery have been lifted, though an investigation of a flash fire that injured eight workers on Sept. 2 is continuing.

A spokesperson for Service N.L. confirmed Monday that a stop-work order in the area of the refinery where the fire occurred was lifted on Thursday.

An investigation by various government agencies, including the Occupational Health and Safety division, is ongoing.

Sources tell CBC News that four of the eight injured workers remained in hospital as of Monday, being treated for serious injuries, including burns.

The company running the site, Braya Renewable Fuels, has concluded an internal investigation, but the details have not been made public.

The company did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Terry Roberts/CBC
Terry Roberts/CBC

Most workers at the refinery are represented by Local 9316 of the United Steelworkers. President Glenn Nolan said Monday that operations are slowly returning to normal.

As part of the lifting of the stop work order, Nolan said OHS ordered some changes to the workflow at the site, and he said workers will be encouraged to raise safety concerns.

Nolan would not provide any specifics as to what the OHS directives were, but he said, "Those actions were fulfilled … and the union feels safe that if all these are followed, it's a safe place to work based on OHS directives."

Nolan said workers are returning to what's known as the "process area" of the refinery, where the fire occurred.

As an added measure, Nolan said the union will have a full-time safety officer present at the site.

The union has been briefed on the company's internal investigation, but Nolan declined to provide any details.

Braya Renewable Fuels, who took over the refinery late late year, is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to convert the former oil refinery into a producer of cleaner biofuels.

Prior to the flash fire, there were more than 600 people working at the site.

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