B.C.’s labour minister says he’s contacted the head of WorkSafeBC after six workers were killed in the span of four weeks.
Harry Bains says the recent deaths are a “strong warning” to workers and employers to stay vigilant when it comes to workplace health and safety.
“I am deeply saddened by these workplace fatalities and offer my sincere condolences to their families, friends and co-workers,” Bains said in a statement.
“Every worker has the right to return home safely from work. I have asked WorkSafeBC to ensure appropriate prevention and enforcement of health and safety rules is taking place in workplaces around B.C..”
Four of the six deaths have occurred on or near Vancouver Island. Last week, two workers were killed when a concrete pump-truck boom broke and fell on them.
The victims, Chris Straw and Marc Doré, were both former CBC employees and long-time friends.
The two men were reportedly helping pour the foundation for a home when a concrete pump-truck boom broke and fell on them. They were both pronounced dead at the scene, despite efforts by first responders.
On March 15, a 41-year-old tree faller from Comox was killed on the job near Port McNeil. Sources told CHEK he may have been struck by another tree that fell adjacent to one that was being cut.
On March 1, Chris Bohn, a 54-year-old father of three, was killed while he was making his first cut in a brand new block south of Gold River, sending shockwaves through the tight-knit community.
WorkSafeBC is investigating all of the deaths.
Bains said while COVID-19 has dominated most of the discourse around workplace safety, there are other hazards companies and workers should be aware of, and employers are responsible for for preventing any serious injuries or deaths.
“Workers have the right to a safe and healthy workplace. They have the right to orientation and training, and the right to refuse unsafe work,” said Bains.
His statement comes the month before the National Day of Mourning on April 28, which is dedicated to remembering people killed on the job.