Blog Post #1495 – Questions Raised over Construction Fatality in B.C.

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (Jan. 2017)

The British Columbia ‘Federation of Labour’ is questioning whether the provincial government and WorkSafeBC are doing enough to enforce workplace safety rules.

The concern comes from the heels of the death of construction worker Rolan Huetzelmann in Victoria, BC, on January 15, 2017, when he fell more than 10 metres after a gust of wind caused a plywood sheet to knock him off the scaffolding.

“Why Huetzelmann wasn’t using a safety harness while working three stories off the ground in high winds will be a central question for the workers’ compensation board to delve into,” BCFED president Irene Lanzinger says in a statement dated January 20, 2017. Lanzinger adds that any employer whose negligence leads to a worker fatality should face a prison sentence.

My opinion

It is about time!

This particular incident should have had an employer-completed JHA (Job Hazard Assessment or Analysis) and the weather safety factor should have been recognized. As an example, my company, HRS Group Inc., completed Elevating Work Platform practicals in the morning before theory instead of after. The client, as an employer, realized there was a wind warning alert issued for the area in the afternoon and asked to re-arrange the practical portion of the training. We, whole-heartedly, agreed.

Safety First!

Every employer should be held accountable when it comes to protecting their workforce. In fact, I agree with the BC Federation of Labour and the Canadian Criminal Code can, and should, be used when dealing with criminal negligence in the death of a worker. (originally Bill C-45)

Section 217.1 of the Canadian Criminal Code states,

Duty of persons directing work

217.1 “Every one who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task.”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
CEO & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.




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