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One person killed in Vancouver tower crane incident

February 22, 2024  By Mike Lacey

A Feb. 21 incident involving a crane at the Oakridge Park development in Vancouver has left one person dead.

VANCOUVER — One person is dead after a tower crane reportedly dropped its load onto a building under construction. 

The incident took place Feb. 21 at the Oakridge Park development in Vancouver. 

According to Captain Matthew Trudeau with the Vancouver Fire Rescue Services, the load somehow became dislodged, fell and struck someone at ground level. The person was killed. The investigation into the matter is ongoing.  

WorkSafeBC states it was notified at around 3 p.m. on Feb. 21 of a serious incident involving a crane near Cambie and 41st in Vancouver at the Oakridge worksite.

WorkSafeBC immediately sent prevention officers to the site and mobilized WorkSafeBC’s OHS Investigations team.

The organization issued a stop-use order on the crane and a stop-work order on the Oakridge Park worksite. WorkSafeBC states these measures were needed to ensure the safety of the worksite.

“While we are unable to discuss specific details of the investigation, any findings that would improve workplace safety will be incorporated into our educational materials and our inspections,” WorkSafeBC stated. 

“This is the third incident involving a crane this year. Preliminary evidence, at this time, suggests there are few, if any, similarities between the three incidents, or the equipment involved.

“However, the three incidents demonstrate that workplace safety can never be taken for granted, and while each of the three recent incidents appear to be unique, employers are reminded of the need to be vigilant in ensuring the maintenance of their equipment and the safe working procedures of their staff.”

The incident comes on the heels of the International Union of Operating Engineers, which represent crane operators, releasing a series of immediate and urgent recommendations to the province’s government and heavy lifting industry. These include the recognition of tower crane operation and rigging as a compulsory trade with required training and certification across the province, and mandatory training standards and licensing of contractors working in the assembly, climbing, repositioning and disassembly of tower cranes.

The recommendations came in the wake of two crane incidents in January. 

“We don’t know the exact cause of these incidents, but we do know in an industry with no real regulation, mandatory training or contractor licensing, these incidents keep happening,” said Local 115’s business manager, Brian Cochrane.

The union has been vocal about improving regulations following the 2021 crane collapse in Kelowna that killed five people. Also Wednesday, the RCMP submitted a report to the BC Prosecution Service about that case and recommends a charge assessment of criminal negligence causing death.

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