181 people died from work-related injuries in B.C. in 2022: WorkSafeBC

181 people died from work-related injuries in B.C. in 2022: WorkSafeBC
CHEK News file photo
File photo of the 2021 National Day of Mourning ceremony at the B.C. Legislature.

On the National Day of Mourning, WorkSafeBC is honouring the 181 people who died from work-related injuries or illnesses in 2022.

The number of people who died of work-related injuries or illnesses in 2022 surpasses 2021, when 161 people died.

“As we gather to mourn today, let us keep in mind that behind each statistic lies a real person whose life was tragically cut short or altered forever by a work-related incident, illness, or disease,” Anne Naser, president and CEO of WorkSafeBC said in a news releasew.

“We all have a responsibility to make British Columbia’s workplaces safer. Employers must exemplify leadership for safety, and work hand in hand with their workers, involving them in decisions that affect their health and safety.”

In 2022, 107 workers died due to an occupational disease, 61 of whom was a result of an asbestos exposure.

Traumatic injuries like falls from elevation, being struck by objects, or getting caught in equipment or machinery resulted in the death of 48 people.

Twenty-six people died due to a motor vehicle incident.

“Today, on the National Day of Mourning, we remember and honour the 181 British Columbians who tragically lost their lives last year due to work-related incidents or occupational diseases,” Premier David Eby said in a news release.

“As we mourn their passing, let us also renew our efforts to create safer working environments, protect the most vulnerable workers, and prevent further tragedies from occurring. Together, we can realize a future where every person can be safe and secure on the job.”

WorkSafeBC death claims came in across a number of professions, but general construction had the highest of any subsector, with 48 claims.

Most of the deaths occurred in Greater Vancouver where 51 people died. Disease resulting in death from an exposure in multiple regions resulted in 26 people dying, and unknown regions accounted for 13. The remainder of the regions in the province had fewer than 10 deaths.

Four people died in the Capital region, three in Comox Valley, three in Cowichan Valley, three in Mount Waddington, and four in Nanaimo.

“This day reminds us all that workers’ lives and safety should never be sacrificed as the cost of doing business, and that those responsible for workplace death and injury must be held to account,” Sussanne Skidmore, president of the BC Federation of Labour said in a news release.

“There is no right more important for working people than the right to come home at the end of their working day — as safe and healthy as when they left.”

Nine people who died were women, while 172 were men in 2022.

To mark the National Day of Mourning, ceremonies will be held in communities across the province. A list of ceremonies can be found on the Day of Mourning B.C. website.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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