Skip to content

Yukon injury rate on the rise

As of Tuesday, there have been 300 injuries in the territory this year. That's on par with last year. "But the unemployment rate is much higher," said Valerie Royle, President and CEO of the Yukon Worker's Compensation Health and Safety Board.

As of Tuesday, there have been 300 injuries in the territory this year.

That’s on par with last year.

“But the unemployment rate is much higher,” said Valerie Royle, President and CEO of the Yukon Worker’s Compensation Health and Safety Board.

“That means the rate of injury is higher, even though the number is the same.”

In the past year, a Yukon worker nearly died after being crushed between two pieces of heavy machinery.

Another worker broke his pelvis falling from a walkway.

And a pedestrian fell into an open excavation that was covered with only a tarp.

The initial findings of these recent workplace injuries have been released on the Yukon Worker’s Compensation Health and Safety Board website.

“We try to release ones that have common hazards that other employers can use to relate to their own workplace,” said Royle.

“We tried to choose ones that are going to be recognizable by other workplaces to show that this could happen there.”

On July 13, 2009, a worker was crushed by an auguring machine while working near the Whitehorse Sewage Lagoon.

“We were very fortunate that it took place where it did,” said Royle.

“If that took place farther from the hospital it could have had a very different result.”

The machine, which is about the size of a large truck and far heavier, was in high gear and running at high RPM.

A safety guard had been removed and the equipment was not being operated to the manufacturer’s specifications.

The operator was standing on the side of the machine using a trigger-equipped joystick.

During the work the augur jammed, causing the machine to tip over and crush the operator against the tracks of an excavator parked just four feet away.

When he released the trigger the machine stalled and fell back to the operating position, releasing the worker.

He was rushed to hospital with very serious internal injuries.

A preliminary investigation found that the auguring machine was improperly secured in place while it was operating.

The augur was undersized for the casing used, which allowed material to jam between the augur and the casing wall.

And the machine was also being operated at too great a speed.

The safety board would like to remind employers that they are required to provide workers with safe work procedures.

All machinery must be operated according to manufacturers recommendations and with safety guards in place.

When an unsafe act or condition is spotted in the workplace, correct it immediately or report it to your supervisor.

On February 15, 2010, a worker fractured his pelvis after a two-metre fall.

The worker was delivering fuel to a local contractor’s worksite in Whitehorse.

Carrying the heavy fuel nozzle and hose, he climbed a ladder and went along a walkway to the opening of the fuel tank.

The walkway was not fitted with guardrails to prevent a fall or grab rails for the worker to hold onto.

While trying to place the nozzle in the tank, the worker lost his balance and fell two metres onto the frozen ground.

The safety board would like to remind everyone that falls from any height can result in serious injury and must be guarded against.

Access to fuel tanks must be kept free of hazards and special precautions should be taken while refueling a tank at any height off of the ground.

On November 15, 2009, a pedestrian received serious internal injuries after falling in a tarp-covered excavation in Teslin.

The contractor had started work without building a fence around the site, as required by safety regulations.

The building’s foundation was dug out in order to apply weatherproofing.

These holes were then covered with tarps to keep out rain and snow.

There were no additional barriers or covers.

A pedestrian passing through the site stepped on the tarp and fell into the hole, resulting in serious injury.

The safety board would like to remind everyone that before construction, alteration, repair, dismantling or demolition of a building begins, a strong fence must be erected.

All open holes, excavations, cut outs or other openings must be provided with a substantial cover.

It is hoped that providing this information will help employers and employees avoid similar actions in the future.

Contact Chris Oke at