Workers' Compensation Safety Board of Nova Scotia

Workplace injuries decline to all-time low in Nova Scotia (April 10/15)

 For Immediate Release

Workplace injuries decline to all-time low in Nova Scotia

CEO says positive signs of change across many industry sectors
 

April 10, 2015 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Fewer workers were injured on the job in 2014, and four of the five largest industries in the province saw improvements in their injury rate.

These results are all signs of continued progress towards building a stronger culture of safety in Nova Scotia, says the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia.

In its 2014 Annual Report released today, the WCB reports that the province’s time-loss workplace injury rate dropped to 1.82 time-loss injuries per 100 covered workers, the lowest since WCB first began tracking this measure.

There were also signs of change across several sectors: The injury rate in construction, the province’s fourth largest sector, fell from 2.25 in 2013 to 1.90 in 2014.

In the fishing industry there was improvement not only in preventing workplace injury but in managing the impact of injury. The number of days lost from work due to workplace injury in the fishing industry declined by 12,769 days in 2014 compared to 2013, which is about the same as roughly 35 people working full time for a year. That’s particularly encouraging because the industry also saw growth in assessable payroll.

“The conversation in our province is changing when it comes to workplace safety, as people decide that work should only be done if it can be done safely. Workplaces are putting programs, tools and resources in place to make sure Nova Scotians return home safely at the end of the work day, and we’re seeing focused efforts in industries and sectors to ensure injury prevention and return to work are high priorities,” said Stuart MacLean, CEO of WCB Nova Scotia.

For the third consecutive year, the WCB also reported a positive comprehensive income that will reduce the unfunded liability by $97.8 million and improve the funding position from 71 per cent to 76.9 per cent funded.

The collaborative work with industry, labour groups, safety associations, government and workplaces to support the goals of the Workplace Safety Strategy for Nova Scotians were among the notable achievements in 2014. This included focused work with partners and industry to develop a fishing safety action plan, the development of a workplace safety toolkit focused on prevention and return-to-work resources for small and medium businesses, and collaborative programs in the healthcare sector to reduce soft tissue injuries among healthcare workers.

“I'm encouraged by the progress that's been made, progress that's been largely driven by employers, workers, and safety partners,” said Kelly Regan, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. “Working together, we’ll continue to promote the importance of safety in workplaces across the province making safety their top priority.”  

The 2014 results also identified the need for more collaborative work to support safe and timely return to work after an injury. Although it remains below historical levels, the amount of time injured workers spend off the job after injury increased from 99 days in 2013 to 102 days in 2014. The number of time-loss days paid per 100 covered workers also stayed the same for the second straight year at 226 days.

While there are opportunities in many sectors, the health and social services industry, the province’s largest sector, accounted for the highest volume of time-loss injuries at 1,586 in 2014, which is more than twice as many as the next closest sector.

“Together with our partners, we remain committed to our vision of a Nova Scotia safe and secure from workplace injury and its impact. Nova Scotia can be better, and we all have a role to play in achieving the goal of making our province the safest place to work in Canada. This includes continued commitment to injury prevention and renewed focus in supporting safe and timely return to work when an injury does occur,” said MacLean.

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Quick Facts

  • Nova Scotia’s injury rate – the number of workers who suffer a time-loss injury per 100 covered workers – was 1.82 this year. While just shy of our target of 1.80, the result demonstrates continued progress and is an improvement from the rate of 1.86 in 2013.
  • In 2014, there were 19 workplace fatalities - five acute and 14 chronic. In 2013, there were 34 workplace fatalities - 17 acute and 17 chronic.
  • The total number of injury claims registered decreased slightly from 25,050 claims in 2013 to 24,974 in 2014.
  • The total number of time-loss workplace injuries in 2014 is 5,953, a decrease from the 2013 total of 6,034.
  • For the third consecutive year, the WCB is reporting a positive comprehensive income that will reduce the unfunded liability by $97.8 million. This improves the funding position from 71 per cent to 76.9 per cent funded.
  • The amount of time injured workers spend off the job after injury increased from 99 days in 2013 to 102 days in 2014. The number of time-loss days paid per hundred covered employees stayed the same for the second straight year at 226 days.
  • The WCB introduced several enhancements in 2014 to improve service to its customers. These included a new external corporate website, an online registration form for employers to apply for workplace insurance coverage and the introduction of a credit card payment option for owner operators and individuals to pay premiums. These changes are part of many service enhancements that will continue into future years to respond to the changing needs of the people we serve.

Industry highlights

  • Four of the five largest industries in the province saw improvements in their injury rate in 2014 from 2013. The injury rate in construction, the province’s fourth largest sector, fell from 2.25 in 2013 to 1.90 in 2014.
  • In 2014, there was a 34 per cent decrease in time-loss days paid in the fishing industry compared to the previous year.
  • Health/Social Services is the largest industry sector in the province and accounts for the highest volume of time-loss injuries at 1,586 in 2014. This is more than twice as many as the next closest sector.

DEFINITIONS

  • The injury rate is the number of people per 100 covered workers who are injured on the job seriously enough to lose three or more days of work.
  • The composite duration index is a complex measure of how long workers are off work due to injury.
  • Acute fatalities are caused by traumatic injuries at the workplace. Chronic fatalities are caused by occupational diseases due to workplace exposures in the past, or health conditions, primarily cardiac events, which may or may not have been directly related to work.

Related Links
Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia 2014 Annual Report
Workplace Safety Strategy for Nova Scotians 2013-2017
Safe at Sea Alliance

CONTACTS
Sarah Reeves
Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia
Cell: 902-717-1343
Email: sarah.reeves@wcb.gov.ns.ca