Lost-time injury rate remains at all-time low in Newfoundland and Labrador
Compliance & Enforcement newfoundland and labrador Workers Compensation
WorkplaceNL has released its 2021 Annual Performance Report, confirming that it met its 2021 strategic objectives in the areas of client service, leadership in workplace injury prevention, financial sustainability and claims management.
At 1.5 per 100 workers in 2021, the lost-time incidence rate remained at an all-time low since the workers’ compensation system was introduced in Newfoundland and Labrador in 1951, the agency said in a press release.
The lost-time incidence rate in 2021 declined in eight industries, and increased in four.
“For decades, workers, employers, safety partners, government and WorkplaceNL have been working together to build healthy, safe workplaces in our province. As a result, the lost-time incidence rate remains at an all-time low and 93 per cent of employers had no reported injuries,” said John Peddle, chair, WorkplaceNL board of directors. “We value these partnerships, and are committed to ensuring that the employer-funded, no fault-system can provide benefits to injured workers for years to come.”
Peddle added, “We want the best for injured workers and their employers. Being off work for an extended period impacts workers, their families and our province’s economy. We are focusing on improving programs to prevent injury and help workers recover at and return to work when medically appropriate. We want to help workers who are injured to not only safely return to work, but to get back to doing the things they love.”
At Dec. 31, 2021, WorkplaceNL’s injury fund was fully-funded at 132.3 per cent. This means the benefits promised to injured workers for the life of their claim are available. The increase from 125.5 per cent funded at the end of 2020 is due to better-than-expected investment income during 2021.
However, WorkplaceNL remains cautious as there are pressures on the injury fund. Ongoing concerns, such as supply chain issues, inflation and geopolitical developments, have led to volatility in global financial markets. As well, short-term claim duration has increased from 40 to 50 days in the past five years contributing to increasing claims costs.
Since Jan. 1, 2019, WorkplaceNL has applied an average $0.21 temporary discount on the assessment rate paid by employers to address the surplus in the injury fund and bring the funded ratio within a target range of 100 and 120 per cent. According to the stakeholder-approved long-term funding policy, when the injury fund falls below 110 per cent funded the discount may be removed.
In late 2021, WorkplaceNL began to implement 29 operational recommendations from the Statutory Review of the Workers’ Compensation System report, Striving for Balance and Compromise. At year-end, four were complete.