Five worker deaths in 15 days an intolerable loss: BCFED

June 17, 2020 | News Release

The BCFED released the following statement today from president Laird Cronk and secretary-treasurer Sussanne Skidmore:

The tragic news that a BC Ferries maintenance worker died on the job on Friday, and a CN Rail conductor was killed while working on Monday, brings the toll to five workplace deaths in the province in just the first half of the month. That’s five workers who left for work healthy and alive, and never came home.

We must never become a province where any number of fatalities or injuries on the job is acceptable, but this is intolerable. Employers throughout BC have an absolute, legislated obligation to provide a safe workplace. With a return to work under way during an ongoing pandemic, now more than ever British Columbians expect them to keep their workers safe and healthy.

And they expect the same of government. WCB must strengthen enforcement and penalties. With COVID-related oversight alone, there have been well over 9,000 inspections and only 274 orders. It’s clear prevention officers need additional tools to ensure a worker’s right to a safe workplace.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends and coworkers of the BC Ferries and CN Railway workers, and of the three other workers in construction and rail who also lost their lives this month. We can promise you that as we mourn your losses, we will continue to fight for the health and safety of workers throughout British Columbia.