Tag Archives: WorkSafe

Annual Day of Mourning

New Democrats marked the annual Day of Mourning by introducing a bill to the B.C. legislature that would ensure companies are held accountable for workplace deaths.

“This bill would see corporate executives and directors held accountable for cases of negligence causing workplace death or serious injury,” said New Democrat labour critic Harry Bains Monday in the legislature when introducing the bill.

Bains said stronger legislation is necessary in B.C., because there has been a failure to secure a single criminal charge for any company despite many workplace deaths as a result of negligence.

“In 2004, 12 years after a mining disaster that took the lives of 26 miners, the federal government enacted the Westray Bill which allowed for employers and managers to be criminally charged for workplace deaths,” said Bains. “There have been more than 1,350 deaths in British Columbia since the Westray bill was passed, and yet no prosecutions have yet been made to hold employers or managers criminally accountable for unsafe working conditions.”

The Workplace Accountability Act would:

  • Ensure a Crown Prosecutor is dedicated and trained to deal with workplace fatality and serious injury cases so the likelihood of conviction may be determined more accurately.
  • Ensure both police and Worksafe BC inspectors are trained on section 217.1 of the Criminal Code. This would ensure that these parties understand this law and its application and would in turn lead to better collection of evidence to support Crown Counsel’s decision making.
  • Require mandatory police investigations of all workplace fatalities and serious injury cases, in order to determine whether criminal negligence exists.
  • Call for the Crown and police to develop a specialized prosecution policy for workplace fatalities or serious injuries cases, similar to what is done in domestic violence cases.

“Far too often, companies are given a slap on the wrist for their negligence and no justice is given to the victims or their families,” said Bains. “The Babine and Lakeland sawmill explosions killed four people and seriously injured 42 others, yet no one has been held accountable. Passing this bill would show that this government is ready to do something to bring about justice in such cases.”

April 28th; Day of Mourning

Remembering the 121 BC workers who lost their lives to workplace injury and disease in 2009.

Every year, WorkSafeBC, along with the B.C. Federation of Labour and the Business Council of British Columbia, co-host a public ceremony to remember workers who have lost their lives as a result of work-related accidents or occupational diseases.

This year, the Day of Mourning ceremony will be held on Wednesday, April 28, 10:30 a.m., at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Families, workers, employers, and other interested parties are invited to attend.

The following information has been taken from the WorkSafe BC Day of Mourning Poster.

Agriculture

During extreme weather, a worker was killed when a barn roof collapsed, pinning him between the rafters and a vehicle.

A young worker was on a tractor, compacting silage in an open bunker silo. The tractor rolled over sideways, fatally injuring the worker.

Fishing

A fishing vessel was found near the beach with its engine running and no one on board. A deceased worker was found about 1.5 nautical miles away.

Forestry

A faller bucking the roots off a windfall ended up underneath the roots. The worker suffered fatal injuries.

A worker went missing while travelling by boat to a remote logging camp. The drowned worker was eventually located about 32 km from the worksite.

A manual faller was preparing to fall a red cedar tree. A green tree was limb-tied to the cedar. The faller was trying to push over the green tree with another tree when a large slab fell backwards, fatally injuring him.

Metal and Non-Metallic Mineral Products

A concrete truck spun out of control while travelling up a steep asphalt grade in winter. As the driver was putting on tire chains, another vehicle struck — first the guardrail, and then the truck driver, pinning him between the two vehicles.

 General Construction

A worker was riding on the tailgate of a moving pickup truck when he fell off and struck his head on the pavement.

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A worker died when he fell 1.8 m (5 ft.) through a plywood hatch covering lubrication pits at a commercial construction site.

A worker died when a pneumatically operated flap valve on a dredge suction line was activated and closed, pinning the worker between a bulkhead and the external moving parts of the valve.

Road Construction or Maintenance

 Two young workers were travelling to a worksite when their vehicle rearended a van that was making a left turn. The passenger died; the driver suffered serious injuries.

 Warehousing

A worker climbed into the feed hopper of an energized waste materials baler. The machine cycled, fatally injuring the worker.

Transportation and Related Services

 A worker was in front of bundles of steel pipe, when a bundle broke and pipe rolled, fatally injuring the worker.

 Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

A pickup truck was cornering on an icy highway when it lost control and slid into an oncoming tractor-trailer. The worker in the pickup was fatally injured. 

Other Services

A service truck collided with a loaded logging truck. Then, another vehicle collided with the trucks. One worker died; two others were injured.

A young worker was killed when the gutter he was working on came into contact with a live power line.

A worker was underneath a pickup truck that was supported on stacked tire rims. The truck shifted and fell, fatally crushing the worker.

Health Care and Social Assistance

A home care worker was travelling in a snowstorm when the vehicle left the road, slid down a steep embankment and into a tree. The worker was fatally injured.

These are just a few of the traumatic fatalities suffered by B.C. workers in 2009.