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Workplace accident: 44 construction workers died in 2017

Safety advocates expressed their concern about the rate of fatalities in the construction industry. At the annual commemoration of a 1981 workplace accident in Vancouver when a construction platform collapsed, surviving family members of four workers who died there came together. However, the alarming truth revealed by the building-trades council is that 1,000 more British Columbia construction workers have been killed in occupational accidents since that tragedy.

Authorities say that, instead of decreasing, the workplace death numbers increase every year. In 2017, the number of fatalities rose at an alarming rate of 42 percent. Several of the 2017 deaths in the construction industry were caused by workers who fell from heights. Some fell from elevated levels on construction sites, while others fell from ladders. Reportedly, one death was caused by electrocution when a ladder on which an employee was standing to repair a gutter made contact with overhead power cables.

Analysis of the 2017 fatality statistics revealed that 17 of the 44 employees who died in construction site accidents suffered fatal trauma -- some of them in vehicle accidents. Asbestos exposure caused the deaths of 25 construction workers, and two more from died from other occupational diseases. The analysis also indicates that, although traumatic fatalities over all industries are decreasing, occupational illness and exposure-related death rates are increasing.

When considering the fatality rate in the construction industry, employees may be concerned about the welfare of their families if they should succumb to injuries in a workplace accident. However, they might find comfort in knowing that the British Columbia workers' compensation system will provide financial support to cover end-of-life arrangements and lost income. Furthermore, grieving families can utilize the skills of an experienced workers' compensation lawyer to navigate the claims processes for them.

Source: kaplanherald.com, "There's been a rise in employee deaths in B.C. 12 months over 12 months", Jan. 11, 2018

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