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Calls for safety echo after dropped crane load kills Vancouver worker

WorkSafeBC probing what it says is the 3rd crane incident this year, although none appear related
The mayor of Vancouver says he is “deeply saddened” by the death of a worker in Vancouver’s Oakridge neighbourhood when a load from a crane fell on a building under construction. Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services workers climb to retrieve loose building materials after a load from a crane fell from the top of the building smashing multiple floors of the Oakridge Mall construction in Vancouver, B.C., Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns.

Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim says he is “deeply saddened” by the death of a worker, who died when the load from a crane fell on a building under construction in the city’s Oakridge neighbourhood Wednesday.

Sim said worksite safety must remain a top priority.

In a statement, he said officials are committed to ensuring the safety of everyone working on construction projects in the city, and they will “continue to work diligently to prevent such tragedies in the future.”

Matthew Trudeau with Vancouver Fire Rescue Services confirmed the fatality hours after the load fell Wednesday afternoon, striking the building about 25 storeys up.

The identity of the person killed has not been publicly announced.

Dustin Luchka, a spokesman for the construction company EllisDon Corp., said operations at the site had been halted on Thursday.

The company would not release further details about the incident or the victim out of respect for the worker’s family and in light of the ongoing investigation.

“We genuinely wish to extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of the individual who was involved,” the statement from Luchka said.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and will do absolutely everything possible to understand why it happened.”

Sim’s statement said his “heartfelt condolences go out to the victim’s family, friends and colleagues who are undoubtedly experiencing immense grief.”

The mayor also thanked firefighters, police, the coroner’s service and WorkSafeBC for their “swift response” to the incident.

Firefighters were called to Cambie Street around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, where they closed a four-block stretch.

Police issued a notice at 5 a.m. Thursday saying the street had reopened.

WorkSafeBC also issued its condolences in a statement Thursday, but said it is unable to discuss details of the incident as its investigation is ongoing.

“WorkSafeBC is now actively working to understand the cause of this tragic incident, as well as any contributing factors, so that a similar incident can be prevented from happening in the future,” the statement said.

This is the third incident the agency is investigating involving a crane this year, but it said preliminary evidence suggests “there are few, if any, similarities between the three incidents, or the equipment involved.”

Though WorkSafeBC said each incident appeared to be unique, it is reminding employers “to be vigilant in ensuring the maintenance of their equipment and the safe working procedures of their staff.”

The latest incident also comes after Kelowna RCMP said Tuesday that they have asked B.C. prosecutors to consider criminal charges in a July 2021 construction crane collapse that killed five people in the city.

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