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Safety Incidents

Understanding Safety Risks: 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 British Columbia and determine what actions can be taken to manage them.

Explanation of incidents

Technical Safety BC completes 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.

Learnings from incidents

While the number of reported incidents decreased by 9.5% in 2020, some trends were found in the 171 investigations that were completed. We found the following:

1. Carbon monoxide is still the silent killer

In the summer of 2020, Technical Safety BC responded to carbon monoxide (CO) incidents in Ruby Lake and Tulameen which resulted in three fatalities and one injury. These investigations documented instances of both slow and rapid onset carbon monoxide exposures and demonstrate the hazards associated with some do-it-yourself (DIY) work. 

These incidents illuminate some of the challenges of regulating DIY activity and the importance of obtaining proper permits. To help address this, we rolled out an extensive public safety education and awareness campaign to help educate British Columbians about the hazards of CO.

2. Passenger behaviour on amusement devices is a factor

Looking at Amusement Devices and Passenger Ropeways, we found passenger behaviour or passenger error to be the cause in most incidents. In our analysis of closed incidents related to ziplines, 75% of the incidents were due to passenger error and behaviour. For chairlifts and magic carpets on the ski hills, 32 incidents were passenger-related.

3. Leaks make up a large percentage of boiler, pressure vessel, and refrigeration incidents

Of 15 closed incidents, 10 involved an ammonia release or a boiler leak. For more information on these incidents, visit our Boiler, Pressure Vessel, and Refrigeration technology page.

Incidents Reported by Category (2016 - 2020)

Incidents Reported by Category (2016 - 2020)
To view a detailed breakdown of 2016 and 2017 data, see State of Safety 2019.

Incident Categories

Under Assessment Still being assessed by Technical Safety BC and was not assigned to a category as of time of data collection.
Severe An incident that resulted with a fatal injury and/or severe equipment damage.


An incident that resulted with major injury and/or major equipment damage.
Moderate An incident that resulted with moderate injury and/or equipment damage.
Minor An incident that resulted with minor injury and/or minor equipment damage.
Insignificant An incident that resulted with insignificant and/or insignificant equipment damage.

Incidents Reported by Technology in 2020

Incidents Reported by Technology in 2020
Incidents Reported by Technology in 2020