‘We cannot become complacent in our efforts to make all workplaces safe’
Saskatchewan workplaces appear to be becoming safer for employees.
In 2020, the workplace total injury rate in the province was 4.46 per 100 workers, a 10 per cent decrease from 2019.
“Last year, fewer people and their families were affected because someone was hurt at work. Employers, workers, safety leaders and labour unions all around the province have worked diligently to bring down our injury rates,” said Gord Dobrowolsky, chairperson of Saskatchewan’s Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB).
From 2008 to 2020, the workplace total injury rate dropped by more than 56 per cent, according to WCB.
Also, 90 per cent of Saskatchewan workplaces had zero injuries and zero fatalities last year, a slight increase from the 88 per cent recorded in 2019.
Time loss and claims
Time loss injury rate decreased to 1.78 per 100 workers in 2020, the lowest rate in more than a decade. That figure dropped from 1.86 per 100 workers in 2019, a decrease of 0.08 per 100 workers or 4.3 per cent.
Claims have also decreased:
- Total claims accepted decreased by 16 per cent to 17,944 in 2020 from 21,473 in 2019. The total number of workers covered decreased to 402,306 in 2020 from 433,622 in 2019.
- Accepted no time loss claims decreased to 10,788 in 2020 from 13,415 in 2019.
- Accepted time loss claims decreased to 7,134 in 2020 from 8,036 in 2019.
But it is not an indication that workplaces can relax their safety measures, said Don Morgan, minister responsible for WCB.
“Although the reductions in the total injury and time loss injury rates are a step in the right direction, every workplace injury in Saskatchewan is one too many. We cannot become complacent in our efforts to make all workplaces safe,” he said.
There remains a consistent number of serious injuries and fatalities (approximately 2,500 annually) that are accepted by the WCB. Also, there were 34 workplace fatalities in 2020, compared to 36 in 2019, a six per cent drop.
“Each of the 34 deaths that occurred in 2020 has had a shattering impact on the loved one’s family and community,” says the WCB’s CEO Phil Germain. “We must continue to focus on preventing workplace deaths and serious injuries and eliminate this suffering in our province.”
Injured workers’ satisfaction for the service they receive from the Workers’ Compensation Board of Prince Edward Island (WCBPEI) in 2020 stood at 71 per cent, according to a report released by the organization.
WorkSafe Saskatchewan, the partnership between the WCB and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, continues to implement initiatives outlined in the Fatalities and Serious Injuries Strategy, available here. Their focus in 2020 was: asbestos exposures, work-related motor vehicle crashes, firefighter cancer exposures, falls from heights (construction industry), health care, transportation, first responders (psychological injuries) and manufacturing (specifically hand injuries).
“The Fatalities and Serious Injuries Strategy is all about reducing the number of workers killed and seriously injured on the job,” says Germain. “In 2020, we added resources to the WorkSafe website, developed marketing campaigns and created partnerships with employers and organized labour with the common goal of reducing serious injuries. Working together, we can keep bringing our injury rates down and make sure all of our workers stay safe on the job so they can go home to their families.”