B.C. crane collapse widow sues project team for negligence

Brad Zawislak was working in a nearby office when he was killed.

The spouse of a man killed by a crane collapse in Kelowna has filed a lawsuit alleging negligence caused her husband’s death. 

According to a notice of claim filed in the Supreme Court of B.C., Helen Furuya is suing Stemmer Construction and other unnamed companies and individuals for the death of her husband, Brad Zawislak. 

On July 12, 2021, Zawislak, a senior technologist at a civil engineering firm, was working in a Kelowna office building when catastrophic failure caused a construction crane to fall. The crane was being dismantled at the Brooklyn tower portion of the Bernard Block development. 

The 43-year-old died at the scene from his injuries. Four workers on site were also killed in the incident. 

According to the lawsuit, the collapsed was caused “in whole or in part by the negligence of the defendants, the particulars of which are yet to be known pending the results of both the Work Safe BC and Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigations”.

Last month, WorkSafeBC announced that it had completed its investigation into the incident but would not be releasing its findings as the RCMP’s criminal investigation was still underway. They have turned over their findings to officers. 

“Over the last 22 months, WorkSafeBC has worked with subject-matter experts and engineers to examine the crane components, sequence of events, and work procedures that took place during the crane dismantling process,” stated WorkSafeBC officials. “WorkSafeBC investigators also examined all relevant documentation and other evidence, in addition to conducting witness interviews.”

They added that the primary purpose of WorkSafeBC’s investigation has been to identify the cause of the incident, and any contributing factors, so that similar incidents can be prevented from happening in the future.

“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,” said the group.


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