Nova Scotia's workplace injury rate continues decline in 2023

But psychological injuries rise to pandemic level

Nova Scotia's workplace injury rate continues decline in 2023

The year 2023 is a safer year for Nova Scotia workers compared to the previous year, according to a report from the Nova Scotia Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB).

The number of workplace deaths also dropped to 18 in 2023 from 24 in 2022 and 20 in 2021.

The WCB registered a total of 20,487 injuries in 2023 and 5,217 of these workers lost three or more days of work. That’s down from 5,420 time-loss injuries in 2022.

The provincial injury rate dropped to 1.40 time-loss injuries per 100 covered workers last year from 1.86 in 2022.

However, the province’s home-care sector still has the highest rate of injury in the province at 5.84 injuries per 100 covered workers, even though that is 15 per cent better than the 2022 rate of 6.85.

“The improvements reflect long-term efforts in a partnership with government, employers and many partners in the long-term care, home care and disability support sectors, including the Better Safety, Better Care campaign,” said the WCB.

“It’s critical that we continue to protect these Nova Scotians from injury’s impact,” added Karen Adams, CEO of WCB Nova Scotia. “Their work is so important.”

The injury rate in long-term care (4.08, down from 4.09) and in hospitals (1.31, down from 1.64) also dropped in 2023 compared with data from 2022. 

What is the most common form of workplace injury in Nova Scotia?

Of the time-loss injuries that occurred in 2023, nearly half (48.2 per cent) were caused by risky or repetitive movement – such as repetitive strain injuries, and especially, moving or repositioning someone the worker is caring for. 

Sprains and strains (63.4 per cent) made up the majority of these injuries, followed by:

  • fractures and dislocations (9.9 per cent)
  • concussions and other head injuries (6.3 per cent)
  • cuts and punctures (5.2 per cent)
  • contusions, crushings or bruises (4.6 per cent)

About one in five are caused by falls (20.1 per cent) and by contact with objects and equipment (17.5 per cent). A smaller number of workers got harmed by their exposure to harmful substances and environment.

WCB also noted that Nova Scotia workers lost a total of 968,053 days due to injury in 2023, down from 1,026,730 in 2022.

“We still have a long way to go, but every day not lost to work is a day the Nova Scotia economy needs,” Adams said. “All roads should lead to return-to-work. That’s how we will reduce the cost of workers’ compensation in our province, and more importantly, its impact on the workforce, and on Nova Scotian families.”

However, 159 Nova Scotians lost time from work due to traumatic psychological injury in 2023. That number is higher than what was recorded in 2022 (135), and even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 (151) and 2020 (157).

Of those who lost work days due to psychological injury, 94 were first responders, up from 86 in 2022 and the same number recorded in 2021 (94).