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Labour Minister ‘deeply saddened’ by recent workplace deaths

Labour Minister Harry Bains says he’s “deeply saddened” by the six recent workplace deaths in British Columbia.

“Even one injury or death is one too many,” Bains says. “These fatalities should be a strong warning to workers and employers that they must act every day to ensure health and safety in the workplace.”

Four of the six deaths happened on or near Vancouver Island.

Last Tuesday (Mar. 16th), two Gabriola Island men were killed while pouring a home foundation. A concrete crane arm came loose and fell on them, and both were pronounced dead at the scene.

Earlier this month, on March 15th, a 41-year-old Comox man was killed while working at a logging facility on Mount Connolly, near Port McNeill.

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And two weeks prior, a 54-year-old Gold River man died on March 1st while working in Tree Farm License 19, southwest of the small town.

Bains is now offering his condolences to their families, friends and co-workers. He says he’s reached out to the chair of WorkSafeBC to share his concerns.

“Every worker has the right to return home safely from work,” Bains says. “I have asked WorkSafeBC to ensure appropriate prevention and enforcement of health and safety rules is taking place in workplaces around B.C.”

While he says the Province has been “focused as much as possible” on safety and health concerns in the workplace regarding COVID-19, he’s sending out a reminder that there are other hazards to be aware of.

“Workers have the right to a safe and healthy workplace,” Bains explains. “They have the right to orientation and training, and the right to refuse unsafe work.”

If employers have any questions about their obligations or how to create safe workplaces, Bains wants them to seek advice from WorkSafeBC or his ministry’s Employers’ Advisers Office.

And with National Day of Mourning set for April 28th, a day dedicated to remembering those killed on the job, Bains is now asking WorkSafeBC, employers, unions and workers to be “extra vigilant about health and safety in the workplace.”

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