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Nova Scotia sees improved workplace safety in 2010

By COS Staff
| www.cos-mag.com

The Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia has released its workplace incident data for 2010, and the numbers indicate the province heading in the right direction. Most notably, the year marked a new low in the number of serious injuries since they began keeping statistics in 1995.

The number of serious injuries in Nova Scotia workplaces is at its lowest level in 15 years, according to a report from the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia.

In 2010, 6,921 people suffered serious injury on the job — the first time that number has been below 7,000 since 1995, when time loss injuries began being calculated the way they are today. There were 10,515 time loss injuries in 1995.

The report marks continued progress toward a better safety culture.

Looking back a decade, 9,061 people suffered time loss injury on the job in 2000 — over 2,000 more than in 2010. The report noted that there has been a particularly steep and consistent decline over the past five years.

Meanwhile, assessable payroll, the WCB’s measure for the number of covered workers, has consistently increased. The injury rate — the number of people per 100 covered workers who are seriously injured on the job — is now 2.13, down from 2.26 in 2009. It was 3.0 in 2004.

Return to work has also seen improvement. The vast majority of workers — 95% — return to work making 100% of their pre-injury earnings. In

2010, over 40,000 fewer days at work were lost due to injury.

Yet despite this continuous improvement, there remains much work to do. Nearly 120 people have died as a result of workplace injury or illness over the past five years.

“Since 2005, we’ve seen an average five per cent reduction in time loss injuries each year,” said Nancy MacCready-Williams, CEO of the Workers’ Compensation Board. “That’s good news and we are clearly heading in the right direction as a province. However, we must be clear: there is no acceptable number of workplace injuries. We want a Nova Scotia free from workplace injury.”

“Creating a safety culture in Nova Scotia is a team effort. Our team of dedicated employees at the WCB are collaborating with employers, workers, labour unions, safety and industry associations, and the Department of Labour and Advanced Education to make Nova Scotia a safer place to work and to help injured workers get back on the job sooner,” said MacCready-Williams.  “We are seeing the positive impact of this collaboration in the 2010 results.”

The Workers’ Compensation Board continues to recoup the investment losses suffered during the global economic downturn in 2007 and 2008. Following significant market losses in 2007 and 2008, 2009 and 2010 have shown more positive results. The WCB ended 2010 a slight surplus overall of $3.5 million.

The full Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia 2010 Annual Report is available at wcb.ns.ca.

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