Kitimat RCMP have confirmed that a 46-year-old Terrace man died on Thursday, April 18, following a logging accident.
RCMP media relations officer Cst. Kurt Fink said the accident occurred at a remote logging operation down the Douglas Channel near Eagle Bay.
“The man appeared to have been struck by a tree and succumbed to his injuries. The location of the fatality was very remote and extremely difficult to access,” said Fink.
He said the RCMP, BC Coroner’s Service and WorkSafe BC were on site on Thursday, adding that while the accident was still under investigation, the RCMP weren’t treating it as suspicious.
“The RCMP would like to thank our partners, like Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM SAR) 63, who are volunteers, as well as the man’s co-workers for their efforts and professionalism.”
RCM SAR 63 Kitimat station leader Spencer Edwards said the unit received a call from Emergency Management BC at 4.30 p.m. to transport members of the RCMP, the Coroner’s Service and Worksafe BC to the site.
He said the sea conditions were quite choppy, with southerly winds between 15 and 20 knots creating three-foot waves, necessitating the use of their Falkens Type II vessel.
“RCM SAR remained at Eagle Bay until 10.30 p.m. on Thursday night, after which we transported the RCMP officers, coroner, Worksafe BC representative and the deceased logger back to Nechako Dock,” said Edwards.
“Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends of the logger.”
BC Coroner’s Service spokesperson Andy Watson said the service was in the early stages of its fact-finding investigation involving the man’s death, but that no details were available as yet.
Worksafe BC media relations director Craig Fitzsimmons said WorkSafeBC is not able to discuss details of an incident.
He added, however, that once the investigation has been completed an incident investigation report will be prepared.
“The primary purpose of a WorkSafe BC incident investigation report is to identify the cause of the incident, including contributing factors, so that similar incidents can be prevented from happening in the future,” said Fitzsimmons.
He said forestry is one of the four sectors with the highest risk of serious injury in B.C. (along with construction, manufacturing and health care). There were five work-related deaths in the forestry sector in 2018.
In 2018, there were 834 time-loss claims in forestry in B.C., including overexertion (127), fall from elevation (118), fall on same level (117), struck by- (114), and motor vehicle incident (MVI).
When a worker dies while on duty WorkSafe BC dispatches a Fatal and Serious Injury (FSI) Investigations team which takes control of the scene and works with the RCMP and the BC Coroner’s Service.
“The FSI investigations officer conducts an in-depth investigation of the incident with the purpose of identifying its causes, preventing similar incidents from occurring in the future, and considering further enforcement action under the Workers Compensation Act,” said Fitzsimmons.
“The investigation may also result in a referral to the police or to the Criminal Justice Branch, at any stage, if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a prosecution under the Criminal Code or the Workers Compensation Act is warranted.”
Cst. Fink encouraged anyone affected by the loss of a relative, friend or co-worker unexpectedly to reach out and speak to family or friends.
“Kitimat RCMP Victim Services can also provide access to services and programs available to help someone cope with grief,” said Fink.
Contact Kitimat Victim Services at 250-632-7111.