Saskatchewan lost-time injuries drop, total injury rate up

The Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) has released its 2011 injury rates, and it shows that while lost-time injuries have consistently dropped, total injury rate in the province has actually increased.
For nine years in a row, Saskatchewan has seen a drop in time-loss injuries, according to the WCB. The province’s time-loss injury rate was 3.05 per cent, a decrease of 2.3 per cent from 2010. However, the total injury rate increased from 8.70 per cent in 2010 to 8.73 percent.

“The increase in total injury rate is disappointing. Overall, there were more people working in Saskatchewan in 2011 than 2010, and we know there are workers and employers across the province striving for Mission: Zero, but we as a province have to stop accepting injuries as ‘accidents’ and an inevitable part of work,” said WCB chairperson David Eberle.

The WCB and Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety (LRWS) forged the WorkSafe Saskatchewan injury prevention partnership in 2002, through which they have developed a broad based provincial prevention strategy. The WorkSafe goal is to eliminate workplace illness, injury and death. Since its inception, Saskatchewan’s total injury rate has improved by 24 per cent.

“Employers and workers must always be alert to workplace hazards,” deputy minister of LRWS Mike Carr said. “Injuries don’t just happen. These are predictable and preventable events. While we should be proud of the achievements to date, there is still much work to be done to eliminate illness and injury in the workplace.”

In 2002, Saskatchewan’s time-loss injury rate was 4.95 per cent. The WCB and LRWS formed the WorkSafe Saskatchewan partnership to create awareness and bring about an immediate reduction in workplace injuries. The 2011 results equate to a 38 per cent improvement in the eight years since the WorkSafe Saskatchewan partnership was formed.

Injury rate is calculated using full-time equivalent (FTE) data based on payroll reported to the WCB and WCB claims accepted.

In 2011, the number of FTEs in Saskatchewan increased by 6,345 over 2010. The number of total claims accepted increased 648 claims to 32,894. The number of time-loss claims (claims where the worker missed work beyond the day of injury) dropped 58 claims from 11,574 in 2010 to 11,516, the WCB said.

The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Division of LRWS conducts about 4,000 worksite inspections annually to ensure standards are known, understood and enforced, and investigates where workers are killed or seriously injured in a work-related incident, the WCB said.