WorkSafeBC not releasing crane collapse report, for now, at recommendation of police

Collapse report under wraps

WorkSafeBC’s investigation into the cause of the downtown Kelowna crane collapse of July 2021 has been completed, but it's not being released publicly any time soon.

The report is being kept secret to preserve the integrity of the RCMP’s criminal investigation of the incident that killed five workers, according to a joint release Tuesday by RCMP and WorkSafeBC.

The two agencies opened independent parallel investigations after the Stemmer Construction crane collapsed during the dismantling process.

“The criminal investigation into this incident is extensive and complex, and as such, it is anticipated that this investigation will remain ongoing for an extended period,” said the news release.

Police say they are working with thousands of pieces of evidence and seized documentation and are consulting with national partners. The issue of seized evidence related to the collapse has made its way to Kelowna’s courts, with a judge ordering last year police could continue to hold the seized evidence.

RCMP say their investigation is focusing on determining if there are any criminal elements related to the collapse. If police find criminality, the file is turned over to Crown prosecutors for consideration of charges.

Police are not offering any estimated timelines of when their probe will be complete.

WorkSafeBC, meanwhile, says they have worked over the past 22 months with experts and engineers to examine the crane components and sequence of events that took place during the dismantling process. WorkSafeBC’s investigation was focused on what caused the collapse to prevent similar incidents in the future.

“WorkSafeBC’s incident investigation report into the Kelowna crane collapse is now complete and can be made available to the Kelowna RCMP via a judicial authorization,” the news release said.

“A decision has been made, in consultation with the RCMP, to not release the WorkSafeBC investigation report publicly, at this time, to ensure it does not jeopardize the ongoing and concurrent criminal investigation.”

WorkSafeBC says that while the report is not being released, the agency has incorporated “key learnings” into its tower crane safety protocols.

Four young construction workers – Cailen Vilness, Jared Zook, and Patrick and Eric Stemmer – were killed in the collapse, along with Brad Zawislak, who was working in a nearby building that was hit by the falling crane.

More Kelowna News