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USW expresses concern over Metro Vancouver crane collapses, joins calls for B.C. government to release report on deadly Kelowna incident

February 22, 2024
Collapsed crane in Kelowna

The United Steelworkers union (USW) is expressing deep concern regarding the recent crane incidents and the recent crane collapses in Burnaby and Surrey and is joining calls for the B.C. government and WorkSafeBC to release the report from the deadly Kelowna crane collapse in 2021.

“These incidents underscore the urgent need for a comprehensive examination of crane safety protocols and regulations,” said Scott Lunny, USW Director for Western Canada. “We must prioritize the safety and well-being of workers and the public to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future. On behalf of the USW, I wish to express condolences to the family and coworkers of those involved in these crane incidents.”

In light of these recent events, the USW joins calls from the IUOE Local 115 urging the British Columbia government and WorkSafeBC to expedite the release of the report on the deadly crane collapse in Kelowna that occurred in 2021. Transparency and accountability are crucial in understanding the cause of this accident and implementing necessary measures to prevent recurrences.

The USW supports the following action:

  1. WorkSafeBC immediately release the results of its investigation into the July 12, 2021, Kelowna tower crane collapse;
  2. Upon release of the investigation reports, the provincial government and WorkSafeBC consider additional legislative and/or regulatory changes to improve tower crane safety;
  3. Mandate contractor licensing and certification for all workers that assemble, erect, climb, reposition, or dismantle tower cranes.

“With several hundred cranes in use across Metro Vancouver and another deadly incident, the USW is calling for the release of the Kelowna crane collapse report to ensure crane operators can implement the necessary changes and to enhance safety standards to prevent deadly and tragic incidents from occurring in the future,” said Ed Kent, USW District 3 Health, Safety and Environment Co-ordinator.

“The USW is ready to work with the government, industry leaders and other unions and stakeholders to strengthen safety protocols that will safeguard the lives and well-being of workers and the public,” added Kent.

The USW’s national campaign, “Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law,” targets all levels of government, law enforcement, attorneys general, and Crown prosecutors to hold employers criminally responsible when workers are killed on the job. The campaign’s goals include increased training for law enforcement and Crown prosecutors in using the Westray Law and the appointment of dedicated police officers and prosecutors to investigate and prosecute workplace fatalities when gross negligence is involved.

The USW represents 225,000 members in nearly every economic sector across Canada and is the largest private-sector union in North America, with 850,000 members in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean. Each year, thousands of workers choose to join the USW because of our strong track record in creating healthier, safer and more respectful workplaces and negotiating better working conditions and fairer compensation – including good wages, benefits and pensions.

For more information on USW’s campaign “Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law,” see usw.ca/stopthekilling.

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Media Contact

Scott Lunny
USW Director for Western Canada
604-329-5308
slunny@usw.ca

Ed Kent
USW District 3 Health, Safety and Environment Coordinator
250-991-3090
ekent@usw.ca

Brett Barden
USW Communications
604-445-6956
bbarden@usw.ca

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