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NDP slams Liberals over BC Place labour woes

NDP house leader Mike Farnworth said B.C. Place Stadium’s latest woes reflect a “cavalier attitude” by the B.C. Liberal government.

“They have a view that any regulation is a bad regulation,” Farnworth said.

An April 9 WorkSafeBC inspection report found taxpayer-owned B.C. Pavilion Corporation in violation of the Workers’ Compensation Act because roof control workers at Vancouver’s Olympic stadium lack adequate training, instruction and supervision.

“This is the second time in 15 months that B.C. Place managers have been criticized for violating the rules and regulations,” Farnworth said. “That’s just not on.”

A report by the Joint Health and Safety Committee issued a year after the Jan. 5, 2007 roof collapse concluded the root cause was a lack of training, policies and procedures. Farnworth said the problems need to be fixed immediately and management should be re-evaluated.

“This is a key venue, the world is coming in February next year,” Farnworth said. “There is no margin for error.”

B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union president Darryl Walker said management is putting his members “in jeopardy.”

“A lot of people come and go in but in the bowels of the facility we don’t have the proper procedures in place to protect our members,” Walker said.

VANOC executives and Bill Bennett, minister responsible for B.C. Place, did not respond to 24 hours’ interview requests.

Meanwhile, City of Vancouver issued B.C. Place an April 22 order to comply with civic electrical bylaws by May 8. Stadium general manager Howard Crosley said a worker touched an electric panel with pliers, but was not injured, on March 10. Crosley said the worker was reprimanded for failing to shut off the panel’s power.

Bob Mackin reports for Vancouver's 24 hours.

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