Labour Minister expresses concern after 6 workers fatally injured on the job in 4 weeks

LABOUR Minister Harry Bains on Friday said that he has contacted the Chair of WorkSafeBC to express his concern regarding six workers who were fatally injured on the job in British Columbia over the past four weeks.

He said: “Even one injury or death is one too many. 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.”

Bains in a statement said: “I am deeply saddened by these workplace fatalities and offer my sincere condolences to their families, friends and co-workers. 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.

“From my time as a production worker and first-aid attendant in a large sawmill, I have first-hand experience with workplace injuries and death. I have witnessed the devastation serious and fatal injury puts on workers and their families. That is why I am asking WorkSafeBC to remind workers, unions and employers about the importance of keeping workplaces safe and healthy.

“We have been focused as much as possible on safety and health concerns in the workplace regarding COVID-19. It has been a steep learning curve, as COVID-19 safety plans have been put in place in every workplace to keep our workers safe and our economy running. But we must also remember there are hazards in the workplace unrelated to COVID-19. Employers are responsible for taking precautions to prevent serious injury and fatalities.

“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. Every workplace incident requires an investigation to determine causes and how to prevent future incidents from occurring. These are rights provided to workers through our health and safety legislation and regulations.

“Employers can seek advice from WorkSafeBC or my ministry’s Employers’ Advisers Office if you have any questions about your obligations or how to create safe workplaces.

“With the National Day of Mourning next month, I am asking WorkSafeBC and employers, unions and workers to be extra vigilant about health and safety in the workplace.”