January 26, 2017 9:18 pm

‘Potential risk of serious injury or death in avalanche terrain’: WorkSafeBC

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It’s not a safety message you usually expect from WorksafeBC, but the workers compensation board is issuing a warning about dangerous avalanche terrain.

“Workers whose jobs take them into British Columbia’s backcountry are at potential risk of serious injury or death in avalanche terrain,” WorkSafeBC spokesperson Erica Simpson said in a news release.

This comes on the heels of Avalanche Canada issuing its own warning about dangerous conditions last week.

WATCH BELOW: Backcountry enthusiasts are being urged to take precautions to avoid being caught up in an avalanche. As Megan Turcato reports many are taking the message to heart.


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READ MORE: Backcountry caution urged with elevated avalanche risk

The avalanche risk Okanagan and Shuswap has been downgraded since then, but is expected to rise again this weekend.

“We want to prevent employers and workers from being caught by surprise by the risk of an avalanche as a result of the rapidly changing weather and snowpack conditions,” WorkSafeBC manager of prevention field Patrick Davie said. “Employers in these situations are required under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation to ensure a well-rehearsed safety plan is in place and well-understood by all workers. If the conditions warrant it, the best plan may be to avoid areas of high risk entirely until the end of the avalanche season.”

WorkSafeBC statistics show avalanches have killed three people and injured 50 more while on the job since 1998. Three people were injured in the last nine months of 2016 alone.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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