An inquest into the death of 29-year-old faller Charles Henry Engelbert on April 17, 2010 after being struck by a falling tree at a work site, has resulted in several jury recommendations.
In its list of recommendations to Workers’ Compensation Board, presented on Feb. 16 in Williams Lake provincial court, the jury said Occupational Health and Safety
Regulations (OHSR) should be amended and require the employer to prepare an evacuation plan prior to commencing work.
The plan must include readily available information before works starts of a “site map, directions to work site from nearest medical treatment centre, latitude and longitude coordinates, communications with confirmed ability to summon off-site assistance from the jobs sites, such as daily radio checks, and marked access/evacuation trails.”
In addition, the jury said OHSR should require the licensee to assume responsibilities of the employer for the purposes of health and safety when they contract hand falling work to a contractor utilizing three or fewer fallers.
That supervisor certification for persons supervising hand falling be mandatory and that periodic re-certification of fallers also be mandatory.
While consideration should be given to a mandatory log book, the jury also suggested a review of education strategies to clarify worker safety responsibilities of owners and licensees when contracting work to companies employing individual subcontractors. The latter was something the jury also outlined for the B.C. Forest Safety Council, along with asking it to investigate SPOT satellite transmitters or similar technology for incorporation into safety plans, and to promote awareness of falling supervisor courses and other educational opportunities.
A recommendation was made that the B.C. Ambulance service explore making its Advanced Life Support paramedic services available by local helicopter to residents in the Cariboo and the North for people living and working in remote locations.
Finally, Emergency Management British Columbia is being asked to explore developing a single provincial emergency communication system, such as a common radio frequency that all agencies would have access to in the case of an emergency.