VANCOUVER – While much of the Lower Mainland is taking a snow day or working from home, construction and maintenance workers are working around and in the largest snowfall of the season.
WorkSafeBC is urging employers to safeguard workers as the cold snap continues by understanding key winter risks such as cold stress and hypothermia as a result of prolonged exposure to cold temperatures and frostbite, which can result in sever tissue damage if not mitigated against with insulated clothing and regular breaks in warm environments.
Social media posts on X (formerly Twitter) show Rope Access Technicians (known as RATs in the industry) at the Alex Fraser Bridge on Hwy. 91 monitoring cables and releasing collars periodically to remove accumulations.
WorkSafe also urged caution around icy surfaces and said employers should proactively deice walkways and provide appropriate footwear to employees to prevent injuries. Winter driving was also highlighted as an ongoing danger in cold, snowy weather.
Jan. 18 marked the second day Vancouver was blanketed in snow. All public schools and post-secondary institutions such as the University of B.C., Simon Fraser University, the B.C. Institute of Technology and Kwantlen Polytechnic University have also cancelled all in-person classes.
The shutdowns came after Environment Canada recorded 28 centimetres of snow at Vancouver International Airport Wednesday, the most in one day since 1996.
Environment Canada says more significant snowfall and a prolonged period of freezing rain are on the way for parts of Metro Vancouver and the valley including Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Hope.
The agency says snowfall in southeastern B.C. is expected to taper off near noon, with 10 to 20 centimetres of snow forecast in parts of Vancouver Island before the snow turns to freezing rain.
Environment Canada has lifted its snowfall warning for Metro Vancouver and the Coquihalla Highway from Hope to Merritt.
BC Hydro said thousands were without power in various parts of southwestern B.C. early in the morning of Jan. 18, but only around 600 customers on the Gulf Islands and a handful elsewhere were without electricity by 9 a.m.
Extreme cold warnings remain in effect in the Prairies, with wind chill values around -40 expected in parts of northern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba.
Check out the social media posts of workers dealing with the weather below.
- With files from The Canadian Press
Crews are monitoring cables and releasing collars periodically to remove accumulations on cables. Rolling right lane closures all day.
Traffic is slow moving NB. pic.twitter.com/ic3x7gw4Om
— Lower Mainland Dist. (@TranBC_LMD) January 17, 2024