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Falling tree branch claims life of Vancouver city worker

Arborist, 43, dies in hospital from head trauma


(Canadian OH&S News) — An employee of the City of Vancouver was killed on the job on the morning of March 31, when a branch of a damaged tree he was working on fell on top of him.

Jody Taylor, a 43-year-old arborist with the Vancouver Park Board, was pruning dead branches from the tree in Connaught Park when the accident occurred, according to information from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Taylor was removing a branch from the tree when it broke off and struck him, causing severe head trauma, a CUPE press release noted. He later died in the hospital.

Taylor had been both a city employee and a member of CUPE Local 1004 for 16 years.

“The City of Vancouver and the Park Board are deeply saddened to report that a workplace fatality of a Park Board arborist occurred this morning,” the City of Vancouver said in a media statement following the tragedy. “WorkSafeBC is at the location [where] the incident occurred, and Vancouver Police Department’s Victim Services Unit is also onsite.”

CUPE 1004 is assisting WorkSafeBC with the investigation, an announcement on the Local’s website stated.

Taylor was publicly identified as the victim at a press briefing at Vancouver’s City Hall on the morning of April 1. CUPE 1004 president Andrew Ledger expressed condolences for Taylor’s family, friends and colleagues at the briefing, joined by Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson.

“When workers get up in the morning and go to work, we expect [them] to come home alive at the end of the day. Tragically, this did not happen for our brother Jody,” Ledger said at the press briefing, as quoted on the union local’s website. “CUPE 1004 commits to redoubling our efforts to ensure that workplace safety is our highest priority.”

Ledger also said that Taylor had been a much-loved worker dedicated to keeping Vancouver’s outdoor spaces “not only beautiful, but safe for the citizens of our city.”

Also offering condolences was CUPE national president Mark Hancock, who said in a press statement that Taylor was the third CUPE member killed at work in 2016 to date.

“It’s a grim reminder of the work we have to do to improve protection for all workers,” said Hancock about the incident. “Tragedies like this shouldn’t happen.”

Media reports have stated that Taylor was working from the bucket of an elevated boom-arm truck at the time of the accident and that the branch crushed him against the interior of the bucket.

Taylor is survived by a 10-year-old daughter, according to CUPE 1004.