WorkSafeBC investigates another crane incident in Metro Vancouver

WorkSafeBC says it was notified of a workplace incident involving a crane at a site in East Vancouver on Monday.  (Submitted by Mandy Mitton - image credit)
WorkSafeBC says it was notified of a workplace incident involving a crane at a site in East Vancouver on Monday. (Submitted by Mandy Mitton - image credit)

British Columbia's workplace safety agency is meeting with employers and the union that represents crane operators following another crane incident at a construction site in Metro Vancouver.

WorkSafeBC says it is now investigating the incident at a site in East Vancouver, the fourth such occurrence involving a crane in Metro Vancouver this year.

The agency says it was notified of the situation at 12:40 p.m. PT on Monday. A WorkSafeBC prevention officer and an engineer visited the site, located on the 2600-block of Victoria Drive, and stop-use orders were issued for the crane and part of the worksite.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the incident. WorkSafeBC provided no further details about what exactly happened.

It said early information shows there are few, if any, similarities between what happened on Monday and previous crane collapses this year.

Josh Towsley, assistant business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 115, visited the work site Tuesday morning and said the boom of the crane is lying flat against the tower.

Towsley expects the investigation into the situation could take several weeks or months.

"We know very little about it," he said.

But he said the union has been "very concerned" about crane safety since a crane collapse killed five people in Kelowna in 2021.

According to WorkSafeBC, there have been about 22 incidents involving tower cranes across the province in the past five years.

Less than two weeks ago, a woman was killed at a work site in Vancouver when a crane's load fell on her.

Her death sparked calls for better regulations and training for tower crane operators in the province.

On Tuesday, Labour Minister Harry Bains said it's "concerning" that these incidents continue to happen.

"These recent incidents, as well as the Kelowna crane collapse over two years ago, serve as a stark reminder of the critical importance of workplace safety," Bains told CBC News in a statement.

On Tuesday, WorkSafeBC are meeting with crane employers and IUOE to talk about regulatory changes that would require businesses to submit a notice of project, detailing how the crane will go up and be climbed, repositioned and dismantled.

"Multiple incidents involving cranes demonstrate that workplace safety can never be taken for granted," said Todd McDonald, head of prevention services with WorkSafeBC, in a statement.

"And while each of the recent incidents appears 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."

Towsley told CBC that better safety protocols and regulations need to be developed when it comes to cranes, particularly more training and more licensing oversight.

Another meeting is planned for later this month with industry stakeholders, WorkSafeBC says.

WorkSafeBC says roughly 350 tower cranes are operating in B.C.

According to signage posted around the work site at 2643 Victoria Dr., 136 rental homes are being built on the land and are estimated to be ready next year.