Companies must protect workers in avalanche areas, says WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC reminds employers that it’s their job to keep workers safe from avalanches.

Resource-sector employees can be at risk in the backcountry, it warns

WorkSafeBC says it's the responsibility of employers to make sure there workers are safe from avalanches. (CBC)

WorkSafeBC is warning employers that it's their job to keep workers safe from avalanches.

Natural resource companies are the most likely to face that danger in the backcountry, WorkSafe said in a news release Monday.

"Whether it be forestry or oil and gas including pipeline construction or road building… if we're in area of avalanche terrain, we could see increased risk," said WorkSafeBC prevention officer Carole Savage told CBC.

"We want workers to know that it's their responsibility to follow their employer's policies and safe work procedures and if they see something unsafe, including the risk of an avalanche, they need to report to their employer," she said.

2 avalanche-related claims in 2017

B.C. regulations require that all employers make sure that they are providing a safe workplace including identifying the risk of avalanche.

Savage says employers can do that by developing a safety plan or program, according to the regulations.

Since 1998 in B.C., avalanches have caused the deaths of three workers and 52 time-loss injury claims, including two claims in 2017, says the release.

Avalanche risk remains high in many areas of the Interior because of heavy snowfalls. 

With files from Jennifer Chrumka