Today, the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) officially released its 2014 injury rates. The data indicates a further decrease in the overall workplace injury rate despite an increase in the number of workers. In 2014, there were 402,894 Saskatchewan workers covered by WCB, over 4,000 more workers than the previous year.
The WCB’s Vice President of Prevention, Phil Germain, agrees that while more work must be done to bring our injury rates down, the progress made over the past decade is very encouraging.
“Last year, our Total injury rate in Saskatchewan was 7.80 percent. We set a goal for 2014 of 7.50 percent”, Germain said. “As of December 31, 2014 we surpassed that target. The Total injury rate for 2014 was 6.99 percent. That is a significant improvement.”
Germain also attributes this marked improvement to the employers, workers and WorkSafe partners around the province who have made safety a core value in their workplaces.
In addition to improvements to the overall injury rates, the number of accepted Time Loss claims reported dropped from 10,116 in 2013 to 9,715 in 2014. Time Loss injury rates dropped from 2.54 percent in 2013 to 2.41 percent in 2014.
“In 2014, 87 percent of employers reached the Mission:Zero target. They had zero workplace injuries. Zero is possible,” Germain said. “What this result suggests is that Saskatchewan workers are safer on the job today than they ever have been.”
But Germain cautions there is a long way to go.
“The most recent Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) statistics show the national time loss injury rate average at 1.65 percent. While comparative data differs somewhat, Saskatchewan’s Time Lose injury rate is almost twice the national average at 2.41 percent,” Germain said. “Other jurisdictions in Canada are also improving their safety records just like we are but we have a lot more ground to cover.”
Deputy Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, Mike Carr is also encouraged by this continued downward trend in workplace injuries in the province.
“In order to reduce Saskatchewan’s high workplace injury rate, Occupational Health and Safety has adopted a new strategy that focuses on employers with the highest workplace injuries,” said Carr. “Early results of this strategy are encouraging. Priority employers with approved safety plans are on track to achieve an 18 per cent reduction in workplace injuries and it is now clear that targeted intervention activities are reducing injuries in workplaces with high injury rates.”
“The WorkSafe partnership has been very beneficial in focusing public attention on Saskatchewan’s appalling injury rate and directing limited resources on the right activities to make workers and workplaces safer,” added Carr. “We all benefit from safer workplaces in Saskatchewan.”
Germain reinforced the need for workplaces across the province to adopt the goal of Mission: Zero. “We need to continue to keep safety a priority in workplaces everywhere. We can’t afford to take short cuts because lives are literally at stake,” Germain said.
“Any workplace fatality is unacceptable and an indication that more needs to be done to make workplaces in Saskatchewan safer. These are people, not statistics. They are husbands and wives and daughters and sons. They are why we need to achieve Mission: Zero.
About WorkSafe Saskatchewan:
WorkSafe Saskatchewan is an injury prevention and workplace safety partnership between the WCB and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety. Through the partnership, both agencies offer programs and support that help employers and workers develop workplace health and safety programs. Visit worksafesask.ca to learn more about preventing workplace fatalities or by phone at 1.800.667.7590.