Log truck deaths leading to clampdown by WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC will be ramping up inspections of log trucks across the province in response to a spike in the number of fatal incidents so far this year.

There have been five deaths involving the vehicles, the most recent occurring on Sept. 2 near Fernie, where a truck went off a logging road and down a steep embankment. By comparison, there were three over the entire length of 2015.

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"That concerns us," WorkSafeBC vice president of prevention-field services Al Johnson said.

The push begins Saturday, with inspectors popping up at weigh scales and loading sites.

"We're going to take advantage of anything we can," Johnson said.

They'll go through the full inspection list but with special consideration for seat belt use and proper loading. In at least two of the incidents, drivers were not wearing seatbelts and in one a truck lost its load, with one of the logs hitting a pickup truck and killing its driver.

Two of the deaths occurred in northern B.C. On Aug. 9, the driver was killed when the trailer the truck was pulling went off the side of a muddy road near Mackenzie and pulled the truck over the edge with it. And on Jan. 31, a worker was killed when an empty logging truck that he and a co-worker were trying to repair ran over him. They stopped south of Fraser Lake to fix a mechanical issue.

Two of the victims were in their early 20s and two in their late 50s.

The consequences for being caught in violation of regulations could range from a "talking to" to a stop work order to a citation carrying a fine.

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