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HomeNewsStadium safety under the microscope yet again

Stadium safety under the microscope yet again


Bob Mackin

B.C. Place Stadium’s joint health and safety committee skipped two of its monthly meetings, despite the law that says management and staff must meet monthly.

(BC Place)

Minutes from an April 26 meeting, obtained by theBreaker via Freedom of Information, show that WorkSafeBC found the stadium in violation of section 131.2 of the of the Workers Compensation Act for missing the February and March meetings. That section states the committee “must meet regularly at least once a month.”

B.C. Pavilion Corporation’s spokesman downplayed the violation, claiming the committee meets “on average once per month.”

Duncan Blomfield said “due to personnel schedules” meetings for February and March were held April 11 and April 26 instead.

The B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union, which represents B.C. Place workers, has yet to comment.

The April 11 minutes indicated there had been an “accident reported” during the World Rugby Canada Sevens on March 11. “The employee has not contacted the company or police, but worker has contacted WorkSafe. Reports and CCTV footage has been collected for WorkSafe to review,” it said. 

When it came time to hold the April meeting, the committee of stadium managers and BCGEU members finally met on May 31. 

PavCo has a long history of violating worker protection laws.

A Nov. 20, 2015 WorkSafeBC report found B.C. Place was failing to protect workers from violence and gave until late December of that year for the stadium to comply. It failed to make policies and procedures and offer training for three years.

In November 2006, a janitorial contractor collapsed on the job and later died in hospital. Nobody at PavCo or the worker’s company told WorkSafeBC, as they were supposed to. A whistleblower finally came forward in October 2008.

Less than a year before the stadium hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics ceremonies, WorkSafeBC found the staff who controlled the stadium’s original inflated roof weren’t trained or supervised to ensure health or safety at the dome. Written emergency procedures couldn’t be found by an inspector.

WorkSafeBC slapped PavCo with a hefty $68,970.57 fine on Nov. 6, 2009 after an electrician was nearly electrocuted on March 10, 2009. There were injuries during the $514 million renovation in 2011. 

After the Olympics, it was learned that the stadium held no evacuation drill for more than two years prior to the event. Such drills are required annually.

In 2015, a worker that had been fired for snoozing on the job was reinstated

When John Horgan is sworn-in as premier on July 18, it will end more than 16 years of Liberal oversight of PavCo, which included the preventable January 2007 rip and collapse of the roof and the costly and controversial replacement four years later with a retractable system.