B.C. labour minister concerned over recent workplace deaths

VICTORIA — British Columbia's labour minister says he has contacted the head of the province's workplace safety agency after six workers died on the job in the past four weeks.

Harry Bains says he's reached out to the chair of WorkSafeBC to make sure appropriate prevention and enforcement of health and safety rules are taking place.

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Bains says there has been a steep learning curve to adjust to COVID-19 safety regulations, but the deaths are a reminder that the pandemic isn't the only hazard workers face.

Two men were killed when a boom broke on a construction site on Gabriola Island, two forestry workers died in separate incidents, a tow-truck driver was killed when he was pinned by a truck and a worker died on Mt. Baldy Resort when he was run over by a snow groomer.

WorkSafeBC says in its most recent annual report that 203 workers died on the job in 2019, tying a previous high in fatalities set in 2014.

Bains says workers have the right to be trained and to have a safe and healthy workplace, which also allows them to refuse unsafe work.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2021.

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