Focus is on safety as we remember those who died in 1981 Bentall Tragedy

Bentall IV Towers Tragedy, 1981, Photo by Peter HulbertSince the deaths of four workers in the 1981 Bentall Centre IV Towers tragedy, another 1,000 construction workers have died in British Columbia. This works out to be an average of 27 deaths a year, according to figures provided by the BC Building Trades Council.

Last year, there were 44 work-related construction deaths — a 42 per cent increase from 2016. 


"Of the 44 deaths in 2017, 17 were workers who died from trauma on the job, while 27 died from exposure and disease, all but two of those related to asbestos. Overall, the work-related death rate for traumatic incidents in all industry groups is going down. However, the death rate for exposure and disease is going up.

Among the traumatic deaths in the construction sector in 2017 were several of workers falling from heights, including a young worker who fell about 45 feet inside a building under construction while applying steel, roof-deck material. Other workers fell from ladders and another worker died during a gutter repair job when an aluminum extension ladder contacted overhead electrical conductors....

Al Johnson, vice-president of prevention services for WorkSafe B.C., noted construction’s work-related death rate does fluctuate. While it jumped to 44 in 2017, and was at 30 in 2016, the year before it was 45. In any case, one workplace death, is one too many, said Johnson. He said WorkSafe B.C.’s high-risk strategy includes a focus on falls from elevation, and the agency also has a focus on asbestos."

Read the full article in the Vancouver Sun.

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