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Construction industry leads province in workplace accident deaths

To enter into certain trades and professions is to accept a heightened degree of risk for personal injury. For example, a career as a firefighter or logger carries with it a known element of danger. Naturally, all possible efforts should be made to minimize hazards at work. Such has been the case in the construction industry, where changes to regulations have been ongoing in hopes of preventing workplace accidents.

Many older Vancouver residents may recall the tragic news in January 1981, when four workers were killed in an accident at the Bentall Centre, which was then under construction. The sister-in-law of one of the deceased recently commented that an accident like that has a profound effect on a family. Much has been done since that day in an effort to make working conditions safer for men and women in construction. Yet, accidents still happen.

WorkSafeBC reports that the construction industry surpasses all other fields for work-related deaths in British Columbia. Construction site accidents resulted in 303 fatalities between 2005 and 2014.

The president of B.C. Building Trades Union believes the prevalence of contractors may be partly to blame. Whereas in the past, the majority of workers on a project were employees of the builder, nowadays, more and more work is being farmed out to small, sub-contracted companies and independent contractors. With less oversight, there may be greater potential for an accident.

Safety at work should be the concern of all, from CEOs to rookie apprentices. When accidents happen, it is important for employers to review their worksites for any gaps in training or safety protocols and for the victims to receive the care and compensation they deserve. A labour and employment lawyer can work on behalf of a person injured in a workplace accident to help ensure a fair settlement, or can assist the employer in navigating the legal requirements following an accident or fatality at the workplace.

Source: CBC News - British Columbia, "36 years after Bentall tower tragedy, construction industry remains most dangerous", Jon Hernandez, Jan. 14, 2017

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