May 30, 2023

La Ronge Northerner

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A propane leak was actually the cause of the CVA explosion

A propaganda leak is at the origin of the explosion at the Center de Valorisation de l’Aliment (CVA) in Sherbrooke, which injured five people last year, the CNESST concluded in its report published on Wednesday.

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The building housed a dozen agri-food companies that shared some common space, including an industrial kitchen. According to inspectors from the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST), the epicenter of the outbreak was there. The stove was identified as the source of ignition.

Three causes of the accident were explained. First, a valve in the propane supply line was not fully closed, creating a propane leak.

“Continuing with withdrawal [d’une cuisinière en 2020], the pipe is not sealed. A witness came to tell us. […] And we found the same as in the ruins,” explained Inspector Christian Roy.

“Installation, removal, and inspection of propane-powered kitchen appliances are deficient,” the written report states.

Among other deficiencies identified, the CNESST notes that workers were not adequately informed about the risks associated with propane gas. The building doesn’t even have a propane detector. However, these are not mandatory. Whether they should be or not is for the Regi du Batiment to decide.

“Would installing a propane detector be a solution? We believe so,” said Christian Roy.

To prevent a recurrence of such a tragedy, CNESST further advises to train personnel on inherent hazards and ensure that equipment installation, removal and inspection are carried out by qualified personnel.

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The CNESST will submit its report to the Régie du Bâtiment and the various associations. CVA’s employer was awarded a delinquency report ranging from $18,000 to $72,000, without disclosing the exact amount. He declined TVA Nouvelles’ request for an interview, preferring to read the report before commenting.