Annual report shows healthcare workers reported more than 1,900 injuries
Saskatchewan’s healthcare sector saw the highest number of workplace injuries in 2022, with nurses and nurse aides reporting more injuries than any other occupation in the province.
There were 1,904 injury reports from registered nurses, nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates in 2022.
The figures are revealed in Saskatchewan’s Workers’ Compensation Board 2022 Annual Report. It shows the overall injury rate in the province went down to 4.33 per 100 workers compared with 4.56 in 2021. But the number of total injury claims went up in 2022.
The rate drop can be attributed to Saskatchewan’s growth in the workforce. Even though there were more injuries in 2022, the rate dropped because more people were working in 2022 than in 2021.
After healthcare, the trucking industry reported the second most injuries in the province. 709 truckers in the province suffered a workplace injury in 2022.
When it comes to why healthcare workers experienced 2.7 times more injuries than the next highest sector, Saskatchewan WCB CEO Phil Germain tells Global News its because they face unique challenges.
“Health-care workers deal with many complex issues. We see a lot of soft tissue injuries, like shoulders and back, because of nurses trying to move patients. We also see a lot of COVID-19 claims. In addition to that, they also had some of the higher violence and psychological claims.”
The issue of violence in the healthcare sector isn’t unique to Saskatchewan, with many provinces reporting similar rates. British Columbia’s WorkSafeBC recently released a report looking at incidents of workplace violence, and the healthcare sector topped the list.
Also noted in the report from Saskatchewan WCB is a recorded loss of $115 million in 2022, attributed to investments made and soaring inflation.
“One hundred fifteen million dollars is a lot of money, but you need to look at this in context. We are a big organization and if we compare to our industry benchmark, an 8.8 per cent loss was predicted and we managed to keep it to a 5.5 per cent loss,” says Germain.
The report also outlines future initiatives, with one of the big focuses being on preventing disability. It says disability is often overlooked or gets noticed too late.
“We have done a good job at managing disability, but we want to try and prevent disability from happening. If a roofer falls off a roof and breaks his arm, he might not be able to get to work after the arm heals. He could have developed a fear of heights which prevents him from doing his job. A police officer or firefighter might suffer from PTSD. These psychological issues can also lead to disability. We want to make sure we find a way to prevent these things in the future,” says Germain.