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Worker safety in jeopardy at BC Place: report

Worker safety at Vancouver's Olympic stadium is in jeopardy, according to a damning WorkSafeBC inspection report obtained by 24 hours.

Officer Stuart Smith found B.C. Place Stadium in violation of the Workers' Compensation Act because "The employer has not provided the control room operators, responsible for the air supported roof, with adequate information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure the health and safety of those workers in carrying out their work and to ensure the health and safety of other workers."

Smith found "significant deficiencies" with procedures and training at the provincial taxpayer-owned site of the 2010 Games' opening and closing ceremonies.

"At the time of the inspection, adequate written operating and emergency procedures were not available in the control room nor could be they located at the worksite," said the April 9 report. "In addition, workers were unable to provide consistent or clear responses when questioned as to the necessary actions to take in certain emergency situations such as a roof deflation."

The fabric roof ripped and collapsed under the weight of heavy, wet snow Jan. 5, 2007.

The Dec. 21, 2007 report of the stadium's Joint Health and Safety Committee said: "the causal analysis of this event points directly to the lack of effective policies, procedures and training as the root cause."

"It was very disconcerting to us obviously when we got (the report) and we're working towards it to try and satisfy all of Stuart's recommendations and orders," B.C. Place general manager Howard Crosley said Monday.

B.C. Place is undergoing $365 million in pre- and post-Olympic renovations, including the installation of a retractable roof by 2011.

Bob Mackin reports for Vancouver's 24 hours.

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