Why are so many people dying in Canadian clothing donation bins?

Woman dies after getting trapped inside Toronto clothing donation bin

Firefighters had to cut open the metal box to get the woman out, but despite the best efforts of paramedics to save her she was pronounced dead at the scene, Global News reported.

Investigators say she was heard screaming for help just before 2 a.m. from the box located behind a building.

One manufacturer of the bins used in Canada said it has stopped producing the metal containers, which were involved in at least two recent deaths, while it develops safer designs.

In 2017, a 56-year-old Pennsylvania woman died under similar circumstances.

One woman who lives in the area told CP24 she regularly sees people going through the donation bins at night. The hatch that keeps the contents of the bin inside can also trap someone leaning into the mechanism to attempt to remove things from the bin.

Diabetes Canada announced the move last week and said Tuesday that about 4,000 bins are being retrofitted or modified across the country, with the changes expected to be completed by January 18.

"Unfortunately, in the initial stage of [donation bin] design, they never considered, 'What if someone got inside?,' Professor Ray Taheri told CBC following the death of the West Vancouver man. Obviously, there's a objective for them in society", he said. Police say she appears to have died after a medical episode, so the exact cause of death is not yet known. "They're set up in a way to make it hard to have access to the box, to the inside of the box, but obviously not safe enough".

"Due to the compression to his or her chest and a lack of oxygen, this is kind of like a death trap".

Taheri said they also need to take into account the colossal expense of physically transporting them, storing them, and later returning them to their original locations.

All bins in West Vancouver were removed following the December incident. The company has been advising charities to remove those bars until safer designs can be implemented.

In a letter to the city's licensing committee, which was reviewing the donation bin bylaw, Tory asked the committee to include safety as part of that review and to speed up the process.

That's why one engineer has formed an emergency taskforce at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus with the aim of retrofitting the existing donation bins to make them safer.

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