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Vancouver Construction Worker’s Fatal Crane Incident Sparks Rally for Enhanced Safety Standards

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On February 21, 2024, a tragic accident occurred at the Oakridge Park development site, resulting in one fatality. Vancouver Fire Services confirmed the death was caused by a crane-related incident that unfolded in the early afternoon.

The vicinity of Cambie Street was cordoned off between 41st and 45th avenues to manage the situation and ensure public safety.

Vancouver Fire Rescue Services’ Capt. Matt Trudeau reported that the victim succumbed to injuries after being struck by a portion of the crane’s load. In response to the emergency, multiple agencies converged on the site, and a specialized technical rescue team was deployed to prevent further accidents.

The incident involved a part of the crane’s load detaching and falling onto a structure below. Efforts were immediately undertaken to secure the site and prevent any additional material from causing harm or damage, as stated by Trudeau.

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More photos of the incident can be found at CityNews Everywhere.

Following the incident, the building at the development site was evacuated as a precautionary measure. At the time of the accident, an estimated 1,700 to 1,800 workers were present in the vicinity.

Eyewitness accounts from workers speaking to CityNews revealed that the falling object was a construction table. One worker described the moment of the accident, noting that the item broke free from the crane and plummeted approximately 30 stories, fatally striking an individual below.

Another worker provided further details, explaining how the table began to spin and subsequently impacted the side of the building. This collision caused the mechanism securing the table to the crane to fail, resulting in the table’s fall.

WorkSafeBC has acknowledged the gravity of the situation, confirming that it was informed of the “serious incident involving a crane” around 3 p.m. on the day of the accident. Inspectors were promptly dispatched to assess the site and investigate the circumstances leading to this tragic outcome.

Rally for Oakridge construction worker killed on job calls for better safety conditions

Nearly a month following a tragic accident that claimed the life of construction worker Yuridia Flores in Vancouver, a rally demanding justice and improved safety conditions was organized by the Metro Vancouver United Workers. The accident, which occurred on February 21 at a construction site near 41st Avenue and Cambie Street, involved a crane losing its load, which then plummeted more than 20 stories, resulting in Flores’ death. The rally, held outside Oakridge Station at 41st and Cambie, saw protesters vocally condemning the incident as a case of negligence, chanting “Yuridia was murdered.”

A rally was held Friday afternoon at the site where construction worker Yuridia Flores was killed after a crane “incident” in February. (Yuridia Flores GoFundMe page)
A rally was held Friday afternoon at the site where construction worker Yuridia Flores was killed after a crane “incident” in February. (Yuridia Flores GoFundMe page)

Dave, a spokesperson for the group who chose to withhold his last name, criticized the lack of significant action following the incident, highlighting that the construction site continued to operate as usual with minimal changes to safety protocols. The group is advocating for criminal liability to be assigned to WestBank and EllisDon, the construction companies overseeing the project, for their role in the accident. Flores, remembered at the rally, was a Mexican national and a Canadian permanent resident, whose untimely death has ignited a call for stringent safety measures in the construction industry.

Eyewitness accounts from workers near the site shed light on the moment of the accident, describing a construction table breaking loose from the crane and causing devastation as it struck Flores. The rally organizers assert that Flores’ death was the direct result of negligent safety practices by the construction company, urging for justice and the implementation of more robust safety standards to protect construction workers.

This rally serves as a poignant reminder of the critical importance of maintaining and enhancing safety conditions on construction sites to prevent such tragedies in the future.

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