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From ziplines to escalators, these are some of B.C.’s top safety risks

Technical Safety BC received reports of 184 injuries in 2023.
Passengers at the Granville Street SkyTrain piled up at the bottom of an escalator following a malfunction in 2023.

Fiery gas explosions, agonizing electrical shocks and out-of-control escalators left British Columbians licking their wounds in 2023, according to a new report from Technical Safety BC.

The independent organization, which oversees the installation and operation of technical systems and equipment throughout the province, received reports of 398 incidents and 184 injuries last year.

Its May 23 report also found the number of carbon monoxide (CO) incidents ticking upward noticeably.

Technical Safety BC investigated 17 incidents of CO exposure in 2023 compared with 10 in 2022.

While the number of incidents is relatively small, one such incident last year resulted in a death at a home under construction following the use of a portable generator not meant for indoors.

The independent organization said the top five safety concerns for British Columbians are as follows:

  • CO exposure
  • Ammonia exposure
  • Gas-line strikes
  • Electrical shocks
  • Electrical fires

Technical Safety BC investigated 11 “major” injuries in 2023, four of which were related to CO exposure.

Other major injuries involved gas explosions on two separate occasions, a sudden escalator stoppage, a zipline collision and a recovery boiler explosion.

The report also highlighted how one roofer in B.C. was injured upon coming into contact with an unmarked, high-voltage bus bar. The shock injured the roofer's elbow and wrist, and the ensuing fall from a ladder resulted in a broken pelvis and shoulder.

“This incident may have been prevented with proper signage on the building to warn workers of electrical hazards, especially if it were to be accessed by unregulated workers performing work around regulated equipment,” the report stated.

Technical Safety BC made 54,746 compliance assessments last year, resulting in the discovery of 8,588 hazards.

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