Nova Scotians made significant progress in 2013 toward reducing the impact of workplace injury in the province, according to the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia (WCB).? ?
The province’s workplace injury rate dropped to 1.86, the lowest since WCB first began tracking this measure. The reduction in workplace injuries is a result of increased collaboration among safety partners in Nova Scotia, including government, safety associations, industry groups, employers and workers, said the WCB.
“We are moving in the right direction, but every working Nova Scotian needs to do more. It starts with a commitment to only do something if it can be done safely," said Stuart MacLean, CEO, Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia. "For workers, this means refusing unsafe work or speaking up when they see a hazard. For employers, it means ensuring a safe workplace and creating an environment where workers feel empowered to voice their concerns.”
The number of days lost from work due to workplace injury also declined by about 29,000 over 2012, which is about the same as 79 people working full time for one year.
One of the most notable accomplishments of the year was the introduction of the Workplace Safety Strategy for Nova Scotians (2013-17). Developed by WCB, the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education and based on extensive stakeholder consultation, the strategy establishes strong goals for workplace health and safety and a long-term vision for making Nova Scotia the safest place to work in Canada.
While these improvements are encouraging, 2013 was a year marked by tragedy. There were 34 workplace fatalities – 17 classified as chronic and 17 classified as acute.? ?Of the 17 acute fatalities, eight occurred in the fishing industry. In 2013, the WCB and the Department of Labour and Advanced Education laid the groundwork for the development of an industry-led, long-term Fishing Safety Action Plan. Through the Safe at Sea Alliance, fishermen, their families and communities will come together to discuss safety issues and develop a plan to improve the overall safety culture of fishing in Nova Scotia.?
?The number of workers who go on to receive long-term benefits continued to decline in 2013, indicating that investments in return-to-work programs are making a difference.
The nine largest industries in the province all saw drops in their injury rates, including construction where the industry rate fell from 2.54 in 2012 to 2.25 in 2013.