Two workers killed at a lumber yard in New Westminster on Saturday were apparently crushed by lumber that fell on them, according to WorkSafeBC.
The deaths of two employees of the Pacific Reload lumber yard is being investigated by police, the B.C. Coroners Service and WorkSafeBC., the province’s chief workplace safety agency.
The names of the workers have not been released.
The pair were found dead at the lumber yard, located in the Queensborough area of New Westminster adjacent to the Fraser River, on Saturday just before 1 p.m.
“We do know that two workers were killed. We also know at this point this was an unwitnessed incident. Others found these two workers under lumber that apparently fell on top of them,” WorkSafeBC spokesman Scott McCloy said Sunday. “It’s just tragic. It’s just the kind of stuff you dread.”
There have been major efforts by the province, industry, unions and WorkSafeBC to reduce fatalities in the forest sector, which had spiked to more than 40 in 2005.
The numbers of fatalities — which have included fallers, logging truck drivers and mill workers — have come down since then.
There were seven deaths in 2014 and 10 in 2013.
According to the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce website, the Pacific Reload site loaded lumber into containers for export overseas.
McCloy said a forklift driver phoned New Westminster Police just before 1 p.m. who then notified WorkSafeBC about the industrial fatality.
Police had control of the scene until 7 p.m. on Saturday, at which time WorkSafeBC took control, said McCloy.
WorkSafeBC’s fatal and serious incident team is investigating.
“From our point of view, our investigation has commenced. We will be doing all the usual investigative protocols: interviewing people, talking to the employer, sealing the scene off, seizing whatever equipment we think is necessary to complete our investigation,” said McCloy.
New Westminster Police spokesman Sgt. Jeff Scott said detectives are investigating what he described as a very sad and tragic situation.
Both the police and coroner’s office said names of the deceased workers were not being released yet.
WorkSafeBC said the site was owned by United Gateway Logistics, whose directors listed with the province’s corporate registry are the same as those for Pacific Reload.
The directors of the company could not be reached Sunday.