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Union calls for mandatory safety certification after pair of B.C. crane incidents

The push comes after recent crane incidents in Surrey and Burnaby.
WorkSafeBC is investigating a crane incident at a construction site in Brentwood.

The union representing hundreds of crane operators across B.C. is calling for industry wide mandatory certification after two crane incidents in the past four days.

“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. We’re glad no one was seriously hurt or killed. Today was a disruption; tomorrow it could be deadly,” says Brian Cochrane, IUOE Local 115 business manager.

The push comes after a crane incident on the corner of 105 Ave. and King George Blvd. in Surrey and another incident where a crane collapsed on a site in Burnaby, causing the closure of part of Lougheed Hwy.

Cochrane says the IUOE Local 115 responds on behalf of the industry anytime there is a crane incident and they have been advocating for provincial training and certification of crane operation for more than two decades.

“When the Tower Crane collapsed in Kelowna on July 12, 2021, killing five workers, that should have been the trigger for B.C. to be the leader in Tower Crane Safety across Canada, and we aren’t,” says Josh Towsley IUOE Local 115 assistant business manager. “Two incidents in four days is a clear demonstration that we need stronger regulations in our industry.”

The union is calling for the government to action its immediate and urgent recommendations for government and industry:

  • Recognize tower crane operation and rigging as a compulsory trade and require training and certification for all crane workers in B.C.
  • Ensure provincial training and certification of crane operation and rigging personnel meets the recognized highest standards in Canada (BC needs to be a leader!)
  • Mandatory licensing of contractors who work in the assembly, climbing, repositioning, and disassembly of tower cranes.
  • Develop minimum levels of training for workers who work in the assembly, climbing, repositioning or disassembly of tower cranes.

“These two incidents should be a wakeup call for the industry and government. The B.C. Liberals tried to deregulate the industry a long time ago, and despite our best efforts to make improvements to safety, the legislation does not have enough teeth,” Towsley says.