Unqualified workers and more highlighted in Technical Safety BC’s 2022 safety report
July 12, 2023 | By Anthony Capkun
Hiring unqualified workers—particularly for gas and electrical work—can lead to costly repairs
July 12, 2023 – The safety priorities identified in Technical Safety BC’s 2022 State of Safety Report include work being carried out by unlicensed individuals, the potential dangers of working near gas lines, and the impacts of extreme weather.
“This year, our team investigated 81 incidents caused by unsafe conditions created by unqualified workers, system failures, lack of awareness, or poor asset management choices,” said Phil Gothe, president and lead executive officer. “These investigations allow us to share our learnings and recommendations to help prevent similar occurrences.”
In 2022, the agency investigated multiple incidents caused by unsafe conditions created by unqualified workers, many of whom advertise themselves on social media as handymen, capable of completing renovations cheaply.
Hiring unqualified workers—particularly for gas and electrical work—can lead to costly repairs, voided insurance, and serious risks and hazards to public safety, warns TSBC.
To help British Columbians verify their contractor is licensed and has a history of safe work, Technical Safety BC launched an updated Find a Licensed Contractor online registry that includes over 10,000 licensed contractors. In addition, licensed contractors must now include their Technical Safety BC licence number when advertising services.
Technical Safety BC investigated 24 reports of gas leaks from damaged gas lines in 2022, including seven incidents that resulted in explosions causing extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure, and multiple injuries. The investigations showed that the individuals conducting the work may not have understood the risks or potential consequences of damaging underground gas lines.
2022 saw an increase in the number of incidents resulting from poor safety behaviours, such as using outdoor appliances indoors when trying to heat homes, and installing unsafe, overloaded, or unpermitted electrical systems to power things like heat pumps and electric vehicle charging stations.
Additional highlights from the report include:
• With 10 reported incidents and seven related injuries, carbon monoxide (CO) continues to be a hazard.
• A 3% decrease year-over-year in installation permits.
• 112,645 operating permits and 155,620 installation permits issued.
• Of the 56,910 assessments completed in 2022, 30,023 were conducted in-person. In 2022, 52% of assessments were in-person, compared to 46% in 2021.
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