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It was well known that loggers and mill workers were at risk of being badly injured and permanently maimed. But mining had the reputation of being particularly dangerous, often deadly. Vancouver Island's coal mines were considered the most dangerous in the world. In the worst mining disaster in the province's history, 148 miners lost their lives in a gas explosion at the Vancouver Coal and Land Co. mine in 1887. Their widows received little compensation from the company other than basic housing and food.
The long-awaited passage of B.C.'s Workmen's Compensation Act came in 1902 but it did not come into force until 1917, when the Workmen's Compensation Board was finally created.
Since then four Royal Commissions and numerous task forces, committees, and study groups have worked long and hard to meet the needs of both the employer and the employee. It's a job of constant adjustment and fine-tuning. Two world wars, a depression, new governments with their own ideologies, and changing demographics and economics have all played a part in affecting the province's labour climate.
Through all these changes and events, WorkSafeBC has strived to alleviate
the hardship caused by injuries or death in the workplace, and to regulate
and ensure safe working conditions through inspection, incentives, and