REGINA, SK – The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board released its 2018 injury rates today. The workplace Total injury rate for 2018 was 5.44 per 100 workers, a 3.6 per cent increase from 2017.
“While we are seeing a slight increase in 2018 injury rates, thanks to the health, safety and prevention efforts of people around the province, 88 per cent of Saskatchewan employers achieved Mission: Zero – zero injuries, zero fatalities and zero suffering,” said Phil Germain, Vice-President of Prevention and Employer Services at the WCB. “Approximately 45 per cent of WCB rate codes had lower Total injury rates in 2018 compared to 2017. However, the remaining 55 per cent had higher Total injury rates in 2018. Also this past year, the Time Loss injury rate increased to 1.99 per 100 workers compared to 1.86 per 100 workers in 2017.”
The Saskatchewan Time Loss injury rate did not decrease in 2017 and stayed consistent with the Saskatchewan 2016 rate of 1.86 per 100 workers. At that time, WorkSafe Saskatchewan cautioned that injury rates might increase in 2018, which they have.
“This is a development we must address immediately and it will mean working together to ensure our workplaces remain safe,” said Germain. “All of us from individuals to organizations to leadership need to take part in ensuring our injury rates do not increase further.”
- Total claims accepted increased from 22,247 in 2017 to 22,371 in 2018. Total number of workers covered decreased slightly from 423,527 workers in 2017 to 410,600 workers in 2018.
- Accepted No Time Loss claims decreased from 14,342 in 2017 to 14,192 in 2018.
- The 2018 Time Loss injury rate increased to 1.99 per 100 workers, a 7.0 per cent increase from 2017. Accepted Time Loss claims increased from 7,888 in 2017 to 8,151 in 2018.
“The increase in both the Total injury rate and the Time Loss injury rate in 2018 may indicate these rates could increase in 2019 as well. We need to keep working together to take action on safety for ourselves and our co-workers,” said Germain.
Most alarming in 2018 is the number of fatalities. There were 48 fatalities in 2018, an increase of 78 per cent from 2017. Over the past 15 years, the WCB has seen an average of 37 workplace fatalities per year. In 2017, the WCB saw the lowest number in the past 15 years at 27.
“This is devastating for our province. Behind every statistic is a loved one who will never come home to their family. The impact of losing someone dear to us is devastating,” said WCB CEO Peter Federko. “We’ve embarked on several research projects with the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan to understand more about our workplace fatalities.”
There is evidence from the International Social Security Association that serious injury and fatality prevention increases the overall level of safety in a workplace. In 2018, the WCB developed a serious injury definition. This analysis revealed that for the 2015 – 2017 period, approximately 2,400 injuries met the serious injury definition each year. Serious injuries represented approximately 10 per cent of all injuries and 75 per cent of compensation days paid in 2017 for claims registered in 2017.
“Focusing on serious injuries and fatalities could get us closer to Mission: Zero,” said Federko. “We will continue to make this a top priority in 2019 as part of our serious injury and fatality initiative.”
The top causes of fatalities in 2018 were from occupational diseases and motor vehicle collisions. WorkSafe Saskatchewan, the WCB’s partnership with the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, launched several resources and campaigns in 2018 targeting the highest causes of workplace injuries and deaths.
WorkSafe offers resources, awareness campaigns, education, training, and targeted initiatives to help eliminate workplace injuries and fatalities. Last year, the WCB signed a data sharing agreement with SGI to help determine the causes of motor vehicle crashes.
“Keeping our workplaces safe is a shared responsibility,” said WCB Chairperson Gord Dobrowolsky. “We can only achieve Mission: Zero when everyone works together. We will keep working with employers, workers and partners until we achieve zero injuries and zero fatalities.”