There has been a spike in the number of workers reporting injuries stemming from slips and falls during the recent cold snap on B.C’s south coast.
Dan Strand, WorkSafeBC’s director of prevention field services, said staff has been flooded with calls since Dec. 1.
“What we’ve seen from our teleclaim department is an increase in people reporting injury due to slips and falls,” he said.
Between 2011 and 2016, 72 workers in the province were injured — one fatally — because of extreme cold weather conditions similar to what the Lower Mainland has experienced this winter.
WorkSafeBC said employees and employers need to ensure they have the proper gear to endure the conditions.
Not-for-profit sector struggles amidst cold snap
The cold weather has also been a struggle for workers and volunteers in the not-for-profit sector.
Surrey Food Bank Executive Director Marilyn Hermann said they have seen an increase in the number of hamper deliveries as ice-covered sidewalks mean seniors and the disabled can’t make it out of their homes to get the food they need.
“I watched a volunteer come in this morning excited to be back and she slipped on the ice even though we had already salted it and done everything we could,” Surrey Food Bank Executive Director Marilyn Hermann said.
At their warehouse, there is a big pothole in the middle of the driveway and it seems as though salt has damaged their forklift.
“We think that there’s so much salt in the lines from having used it in the snow and the salt and what not that it won’t start,” Hermann said.
What’s more, there are two trailers filled with food sitting outside their warehouse that cannot be moved.
Hermann said the snow and ice is to blame.
“We can’t get them out of here and to our other warehouse because of the amount of snow. It’s just been a real challenge,” she said, adding they’re just hoping and praying for thaw, no matter how brief.
“We can only do so much and we’re doing the best we can do with the resources we’ve got,” Hermann said.