A prominent international workers union wants answers as to the reason behind the 2021 Kelowna crane collapse, and they want them now.
The United Steelworkers union is calling on WorkSafeBC to release the findings in its report on the tragedy, which was announced as completed on May 16. The information is currently being withheld, as the RCMP report into whether there was any criminality in the matter is still ongoing.
“The families of the victims and the public deserve to know what happened and if any criminal elements were present,” said Ed Kent, USW Health, Safety and Environment rep for Western Canada. If there were such elements, there needs to be accountability. If there weren’t, then we need to know what happened, so tragic accidents can be prevented in the future.”
Five people were killed on July 12, 2021, when a crane working on a 25-storey tower collapsed on Bernard Avenue.
Kent said that despite no findings being released yet, he believes there “seems to be an eye” on any criminal aspect involved.
“If employer negligence was found, then it’s time to enforce the law. There need to be serious consequences for killing workers, more than just fines. Death cannot be a cost of doing business.
“It’s quite simple, really – if you kill a worker, you go to jail.”
IUOE Local 115, a union based out of Kamloops that represents hundreds of crane operators in B.C., echoes the statements of Kent and USW, calling the non-disclosure of the WorkSafe results “extremely disappointing.”