Annual State of Safety 2022

State of Safety: Incidents

We investigate incidents to learn more about decisions and behaviour that may lead to technical failure or the potential for increased safety risk in the future.

We publish incident investigation summaries to document our findings across all technologies and share this information to empower clients and the public alike to make better safety-minded decisions.

In 2022, the number of incidents reported to us increased by 35, or 4% compared to 2021. Throughout the year, we noted the following learnings.

Gas-Related Explosions Are a Safety Risk in BC

In 2022, we investigated seven explosions resulting from gas leaks that caused significant damage to properties and personal injuries.

Our findings identified the importance of working at an appropriate distance from exposed gas lines. Digging, bulldozing, or pounding posts around underground gas lines is extremely hazardous. Once gas lines are exposed, we recommend putting up barriers to protect the line from accidental damage. Clearly identifying underground gas services can also prevent incidents. Propane storage and handling procedures also play an integral role in safety, as does maintaining gas systems properly in extreme weather environments.

Passenger Ropeway Injuries Are More Frequent at the Start and End of the Season

In 2022, we documented 20 incidents with passenger ropeway systems involving passenger loading/unloading and falls from carriers resulting in 15 moderate and major injuries. Higher numbers of these incidents were seen at the beginning and end of the skiing and snowboarding season.

To address these statistics, we established an industry advisory group to better understand the causal and behavioural factors leading to falls or misloadings.


Carbon Monoxide Continues to Be a Serious Risk

With 10 incidents and seven injuries related to carbon monoxide (CO) in 2022, CO continues to be a dangerous hazard in BC.

In January of 2022, during a stretch of unseasonably cold weather, two seniors began experiencing illness symptoms over multiple days. The severity of the symptoms progressed to the point that the residents didn’t have the strength to get out of bed. A neighbor, who saw a warning of potential carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from blocked gas heater vents due to snow accumulation, was prompted to bring over a CO detector to the home. The alarm in the detector immediately went off and indicated high levels of CO.

The occupants were taken to hospital and recovered from CO exposure symptoms. Investigation found that an outdoor natural gas fired heating unit was producing high levels of CO that was being conveyed into the home through corrosion holes in the heater’s heat exchanger. The home was not equipped with a CO detector, and it wasn’t until the neighbor suspected it may be CO poisoning, prompted from a social media post, that CO was found to be in the home. If the neighbor had not checked in on the occupants with a CO detector, this incident could have very easily turned tragic.

Our work on CO last year also identified a common connection between a brand of high efficiency gas boilers and dislodged vents. The dislodged vents resulted in carbon monoxide exposures in residential homes, care facilities, and schools.

Additionally in 2022, investigations continued for Carrier furnace failures previously identified in the 2021 Carrier Gas Furnace Report, as many furnaces remain in operation throughout the province. British Columbians who have them installed in their homes should seek the expertise of a licensed gas contractor to look for potential safety hazards.

The home was not equipped with a CO detector, and it wasn’t until the neighbor suspected it may be CO poisoning, prompted from a social media post, that CO was found to be in the home.

High Voltage Electrical Incidents Involve High Rates of Damage and Injuries

In 2022, we investigated five incidents involving high voltage electricity (greater than 750Volts). Incidents involving high voltage electricity have been found to produce higher injury and damage ratings averages than most of the other types of incidents. Of the five incidents investigated, all have involved significant injuries or damage and included one fatality.

These incidents involved:

The switch failed to open and caused extensive damage to the 25,000 volt switchgear downstream. This incident occurred at an industrial facility and cost the business financially due to the downtime needed for repairs.

At a large industrial facility, a worker was exposed to a high voltage busbar and received an electric shock as well as burns to their arm. The building housed several exposed high voltage components up to 13,000 volts.

A worker at a commercial facility was repairing a microwave when they contracted the energized circuit and received a severe shock, along with burns that resulted in a fatality. The microwave oven was a one similar to those found in homes across BC. It used a high voltage electrical circuit inside of 3,800 volts to produce microwaves.

A worker opened the cabinet on the energized section of the 12.5kv system after completing maintenance. In order to inspect components, they reached inside with a phone camera. Electricity arced on their hand and they received shock and burns on their hand, arm, and hip.

A worker at an industrial sawmill shut off a high voltage switch while it was under load. The opening of the switch resulted in arcing and extreme heat that damaged the equipment and caused burns to the worker’s hand.


Our Approach to Incidents

Incidents involving work or equipment regulated by the Safety Standards Act are required to be reported to the appropriate safety manager. We investigate many of these incidents to gain an understanding of safety hazards in BC and determine what actions can be taken to manage them.

We complete investigations on certain incidents reported to us in all technologies except for rail. We investigate incidents reported to us when:

  • Regulated work or regulated equipment is involved.
  • Evidence is available to help determine causes and contributing factors.
  • A learning opportunity exists to understand and document what caused the incident, and to inform prevention of similar incidents.


Incident Categories


Under AssessmentStill being assessed by Technical Safety BC and was not assigned to a category as of time of data collection.
InsignificantAn incident that resulted with insignificant and/or insignificant equipment damage
MinorAn incident that resulted with minor injury and/or minor equipment damage
ModerateAn incident that resulted with moderate injury and/or equipment damage
MajorAn incident that resulted with major injury and/or major equipment damage.
SevereAn incident that resulted with a fatal injury and/or severe equipment damage.

Incident Data

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