Despite long-term progress, workplace injury in Nova Scotia takes a big toll in 2017

[April 5, 2018]; Halifax, Nova Scotia: Workplace injuries leading to time off the job remained about steady in 2017, according to statistics released by WCB Nova Scotia today.

The 2017 time-loss injury rate of 1.76 per 100 covered workers represents a slight increase from last year, when the injury rate was 1.74.

There were 5,906 time-loss claims in 2017, compared to 5,847 in 2016. By comparison, in 2005 more than 9,000 workers were hurt seriously enough to lose time from work.

The WCB received a total of 23,952 claims in 2017, a slight decrease from 24,311 the year before. These include all workplace injuries in covered workplaces – most of which required some health care but didn’t result in time lost from work.

“The impact of workplace injury in our province in 2017 shows us there’s been long-term progress, but that we still need to do more to prevent injuries and fatalities,” says WCB Nova Scotia CEO Stuart MacLean.

Five Nova Scotians went to work and never came home in 2017. Another 16 died as a result of occupational diseases and other health related issues such as heart attacks suffered while at work.

One of the five acute workplace deaths occurred in manufacturing, two in construction, one in fishing and one in the retail food and beverage sector.  Although the number of acute fatalities has been trending downward in recent years, one workplace death is too many.

“We need to continue our focus on high-risk industries, we need to encourage more leaders to step forward, and we need to work together in new ways to reduce the risk of injury and help workers safely return to work,” says MacLean.

Some industries, like Nova Scotia’s fishing sector, have shown significant progress in their safety cultures. Others, such as the long-term care and home-care sectors, have opportunity to create safer workplaces. WCB is working with government, stakeholders, and workers and employers across the province to continue to improve workplace safety, especially in high-risk sectors.

The duration index, a measure of the average length of a claim, increased in 2017 to 117 days.

“Claims today tend to be more complex, and workers need different levels of service and support” says MacLean. “The total number of days lost to workplace injury is much lower than it once was, but we still need to develop long-term strategies that support improvement sectors where workers are experiencing more injuries, like long-term care and home care.”

The launch of WCB Online services in 2017 is helping WCB communicate quickly and easily with the people it serves. The launch marked the first major milestone in WCB’s modernization, which will also see the replacement of core claims and assessment systems. The new systems will help to streamline some service processes and will significantly reduce the need to exchange claim information via paper and fax. Thousands of workers, employers and service providers are already using the new services.

Other highlights from WCB Nova Scotia’s 2017 statistics include:

• The number of women injured at work rose to 48.1% of all injuries, compared to 46.9% in 2016
• Total workplace injury claims are down, while the number of compensable time loss claims rose slightly
• Muscle strain from lifting is still the most common workplace injury, and the back is most often affected. Most often, injuries stem from lifting and moving someone the worker is caring for.
• More than half of all workplace injuries are suffered by those 40 to 60 years old
• More than 4,000 workers are using the WCB’s new online services, launched in 2017.Financial results will be available in the WCB’s annual report, which is provided to the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education by June 30, in keeping with updated reporting requirements.

For more information, contact:
Sarah Reeves
(902) 491-8103
Sarah.reeves@wcb.ns.ca

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Improvement Rate 2018_Apr5636585494412743581


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