B.C. safety agency moves to cut risks for construction cranes after fatal accidents

B.C.'s worker safety agency is taking steps to address "gaps" in construction crane safety following recent accidents, some of which have been fatal.

British Columbia’s worker safety agency is moving to “address gaps” in construction crane safety after recent accidents, including fatalities. A collapsed construction crane rests on a building in Kelowna, B.C., Monday, July 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alistair Waters

British Columbia’s worker safety agency is moving to address “gaps” in construction crane safety after recent accidents, including fatalities.

WorkSafeBC says in a statement that it developed safety plans after bringing together 130 groups and individuals, including tower crane operators, unions, employers, contractors and the B.C. Association for Crane Safety.

It follows a series of incidents and accidents involving tower cranes in B.C., including the death of a worker in Vancouver in February when a load fell on them, and a crane collapse in Kelowna in 2021 that killed five men.

WorkSafe’s Todd McDonald says they developed a risk-reduction strategy after the review.

Some of the key recommendations include reviewing the crane operator certification program and exploring how to improve training for supervisors, riggers, operators and those involved in assembling and taking down cranes.

Other suggestions include new regulations to address the frequency of tower crane inspections and increasing the capacity of WorkSafe’s crane inspection team.

“With a greater number of cranes operating in increasingly complex work sites, we need to ensure that employers provide the training, supervision and safe work practices needed to keep workers safe in an evolving work environment,” McDonald says.

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