Injury rate steady in first quarter; WCB funded ratio improves to 89 per cent (8/14/18)

WCB Nova Scotia releases 2018 Q1 Community Report and 2017 Annual Report

There has been progress over the long term, but workplace injury continues to impact workers, employers, and families, according to WCB Nova Scotia’s Report to the Community for the first quarter of 2018.

There were 1,331 time-loss injuries from January to March of 2018, down slightly from the same period in 2017, when there were 1,342 injuries. The injury rate for Q1, which is calculated as the number of injuries per 100 WCB-covered workers, was 1.76. That’s unchanged from the rate at year end 2017, and reported in April.  

Three Nova Scotians went to work between January and March and didn’t come home. Two of those workplace deaths were in defense and government services, and one was in construction.

“We still have work to do, to help Nova Scotia’s workers and employers ensure people come home safe from work,” says Stuart MacLean, CEO of WCB Nova Scotia. “Our results this quarter speak to the need for continued focus on injury prevention and better support for safe and timely return to work.”

Workers who get hurt on the job are taking longer to return to work than in recent years. The composite duration index, a measure of how long workers are off the job due to injury, is at 120 days at the end of the first quarter. That’s up from 117 days at the end of 2017. 

Employees in health and social services experienced more injuries than any other sector in Q1, usually while assisting or moving people receiving care in long-term care or home care settings. There were 389 time loss claims in these sectors between January and March, which is more than three times the number of injuries reported by any other industry.

Due to a change in the legislated reporting schedule made last fall, the WCB’s first quarter report was released at the same time as the 2017 Annual Report.

The Annual Report shows that the WCB had a strong year financially in 2017, with the funded ratio – the percentage of funds available to pay for benefit commitments made into the future - improving to 89 per cent. The WCB also posted strong investment returns of 10.3 per cent, compared to 6.7 per cent the previous year. Comprehensive income rose to $100.3 million, a 30 per cent improvement over 2016.

The WCB is in the midst of a major business transformation. Online services launched in 2017, and the WCB is currently replacing its aging claims and assessment systems with the industry leading Guidewire software platform, with a launch planned for early 2019. More than 5,500 workers have registered for online service so far, and tens of thousands of secure messages and documents have been shared digitally instead of through traditional mail. More digital service options will be available once the new systems are in place.

“Part of how we’re helping to reduce the impact of injury is by making it easier for workers and employers to do business with us,” says MacLean. “We’re investing in better tools and faster processes, so that we can provide more convenient online service options. We know we need to modernize the way we do business in order to deliver service the way Nova Scotians need and expect.”

Q1 at a Glance:

Number of time-loss claims in Q1 – 1,331
Time-loss claims per 100 covered workers – 1.76
Most Common Injury Type in Q1:  872 muscle strain injuries from lifting
Composite Duration Index – 120
Time loss days paid per 100 covered workers – 246
Acute workplace fatalities YTD – 3
Chronic fatalities YTD (due to occupational disease or other health conditions) – 2
Claims payments made YTD – $60 million
Five-year rate of return on investment –8.8 per cent

2017 Annual Report Highlights:
Number of time-loss claims – 5,906
Time-loss claims per 100 covered workers – 1.76
Composite Duration Index – 117
Acute workplace fatalities – 5
Chronic workplace fatalities (due to occupational diseases or other health issues) – 16
Claim payments made - $259 million
Funded Ratio – 89 per cent
See more of our 2017 stats here

For more information, contact:
Nicole Halloran, Communications Advisor
(902) 491-8102 | Cell: (902) 223-8901