At least 4 workers died on the job in Hamilton last year

At least four workers died in Hamilton last year – two were crushed, one died from a fall, and one was struck by something, according to provincial data obtained by CBC Hamilton.

In 2022, 64 workers were killed in Ontario

A welder works on a job with another person who is not wearing a welding mask sitting nearby.
At least six people died at work in Hamilton and Norfolk County in 2022, provincial data show. (CBC)

At least four workers died in Hamilton last year – two were crushed, one died from a fall, and one was struck by something, according to provincial data obtained by CBC Hamilton.

That's one more worker death than the previous year, when one person died after being crushed at work, one person fell and one died from massive body trauma.

Two workers were also crushed to death last year in Norfolk County, meaning that cause of death constituted two-thirds of the reported workplace deaths in this region last year.

The figures, from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, only include incidents that have been reported to the ministry.

One of those who died on the job last year was Quoc Le, a welder killed by a falling bulkhead at National Steel Car in June. The president of the Hamilton and District Labour Council, Anthony Marco, recently told CBC that the organization wasn't aware of other 2022 workplace deaths in Hamilton. He said it's hard for the group to track worker deaths, particularly those who aren't part of unions, which make up its membership.

"Those times when worker deaths really pop up on our radar [are] when it is unionized members, and those are often less frequent than unorganized workers," he told CBC Hamilton in late April.

"We do endeavour to try and keep a list of workers who died on the job over the past calendar year, but it's getting tougher and tougher because, often, stories of workplace deaths aren't followed up on by the media sources who first report them."

Several deaths a result of fires or being struck by something

In 2022, 64 workers were killed in Ontario, and 2,685 were critically injured, according to ministry data.

Both figures saw a slight increase from the previous few years, although the ministry notes the number of workers in Ontario has "been increasing since 2018," and that 2022 saw many people return to the workplace who had been home during COVID-19 lockdowns.

In 2021, there were 57 deaths and 2,387 critical injuries, while in 2020, Ontario saw 54 deaths and 2,035 injuries.

The more detailed data for this region obtained by CBC Hamilton includes reported workplace death, critical injury and occupational disease data for 2021 and 2022. It showed:

  • In Hamilton, beyond the four deaths last year, 97 people were critically injured and 304 contracted occupational illnesses or disease. That compares to 89 critical injuries in 2021 and 431 occupational illness and disease "events" that year – likely a reflection of the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic at that time.
  • In Burlington, there were no worker deaths in either 2021 or 2022. That city saw 28 critical injuries reported to the ministry last year, and 32 the previous year. Its occupational illnesses reported totalled 149 in 2021 and 53 in 2022.
  • In Norfolk County, two workers died by being crushed last year, and one died after being struck by something the previous year. Norfolk's critical injury count dropped from 15 in 2021 to 11 in 2022, and its workplace illness numbers went from 27 in 2021 to 22 last year.
  • In Haldimand County, there were no worker deaths either year, 10 critical injuries last year and seven the year previous. Workplace illness reports went from 23 to 19 over the two years represented in the data.
  • In Brant County, there was one worker who died by crushing in 2021. The county saw 15 critical workplace injuries in 2021 and 21 in 2022. The number of reported workplace illnesses or diseases went from 41 to 38 over those two years.
  • In Niagara Region, two workers died in a "fire or explosion" in 2021. One was a roofer working at a restaurant in St. Catharines when it caught fire. There were no reported deaths on the job in the region last year. The region saw 73 worker injuries in 2021 grow to 89 in 2022, and workplace illnesses dropped from 206 in 2021 to 189 in 2022.

Workplace injuries 'costing taxpayers money'

Hamilton resident Karl Crevar, 80, has been an activist for injured workers' rights for 30 years, after being hurt on the job at a warehouse.

He says it's far from guaranteed that a worker hurt on the job will succeed in getting compensation from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and says there is much work to be done on both supporting injured workers and preventing such injuries from occurring in the first place.

Injured on the job: 2 Hamilton workers tell their story

25 days ago
Duration 1:57
Two Hamilton workers suffering from longterm workplace injuries talk about how they got injured and the advice they have for younger workers.

"The workplace, it is dangerous," Krevar, who helped found the Hamilton and District Injured Workers Group, told CBC Hamilton on Tuesday. "There will be accidents, but there's more that we can do to prevent those accidents."

He advised workers to be aware of the harms in their workplaces, and get involved in health and safety committees where they exist. 

He also said that all Ontario citizens should be aware that every time a WSIB claim is denied, that leaves them to foot the bill for that worker's health care costs, instead of the employers who pay into WSIB.

"It's costing taxpayers money because it's being downloaded."


Saira Peesker is a reporter with CBC Hamilton, with particular interests in climate, labour and local politics. She has previously worked with the Hamilton Spectator and CTV News, and is a regular contributor to the Globe and Mail, covering business and personal finance. Saira can be reached at saira.peesker@cbc.ca.