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Fewer workers getting hurt in Nova Scotia, says WCB, but number of fatalities increased

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August 16, 2023
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety nova scotia wcb WCB Nova Scotia workers' compensation

View of Province House from the south lawn. Credit: Communications Nova Scotia

Fewer workers in Nova Scotia are getting hurt at work, according to new data from WCB Nova Scotia. That amounted to 52,000 fewer days lost due to injury, or the equivalent of 200 full-time employees working for a year, it said.

But the number of fatal incidents rose in 2022 to 24, up from 20 in 2021, according to the data. That included nine acute fatalities, eight that were attributed to occupational diseases and seven that were health-related.

The province’s injury rate continued its long-term improvement trend reaching what it called a “historic low” of 1.41 in the first quarter of 2023 compared to 1.54 at the end of 2022. The number measures injuries serious enough to cause the worker to lose time from the job, per 100 workers covered by workers’ compensation.

There was also encouraging progress in the amount of time lost to workplace injury, with fewer days lost in Q1 compared to the same period last year, it said.


Collaborative efforts

Building on the positive momentum achieved last year, both the rate of injury and the time it takes to recover and make a safe return to work improved in Q1 in the long-term care, home care and disability support sectors.

The WCB said these are indications that collaborative efforts to improve outcomes through workplace initiatives and investments by government are paying off. Keeping workers in these sectors healthy, safe, and doing the important work of caring for others has been a major focus for the WCB, working alongside the provincial government, AWARE Nova Scotia and other industry partners for the past few years, it said.

“Although there is still room for improvement, these trends show we’re making progress in our key focus areas of injury prevention and safe and timely return to work,” said Shelley Rowan, WCB Nova Scotia’s Interim CEO. “As we welcome our permanent CEO and launch our new strategic plan next year, the WCB can build on this foundation of progress to support the health and safety of working Nova Scotians and their workplaces into the future.” The WCB recently announced that Karen Adams will take over as the WCB’s permanent CEO starting on August 14.

Psychological injuries

The impact of psychological injury on the province’s workplaces continued in Q1 2023, it said, when 40 working Nova Scotians experienced a psychological injury that required time away from work. There were 135 time-loss psychological injuries in all of 2022.

At the same time, the WCB’s dedicated program to support workers impacted by traumatic psychological injury continued to show progress, assisting workers in recovering from these often challenging, complex injuries.

Fatalities, time-loss injuries

There were 24 fatalities and 5,420 time-loss injuries in 2022, and 52,000 fewer days were lost to workplace injury last year, the equivalent of about 200 people working full time for the whole year. Nova Scotia is still behind the rest of Canada in how long it takes, on average, for return-to-work outcomes to be achieved,it said.

WCB Nova Scotia’s financial position decreased in 2022 due to fluctuations in the global market and continued high claims costs. At the end of 2022 the funded percentage was 92.9 per cent, down from 106.4 per cent in 2021.


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