Saskatchewan saw a decrease in injury and fatalities in 2016.
The total workplace injury rate for 2016 was 5.55 per cent, an 11.9 per cent drop from 2015, and a significant decrease from 2008 when the total injury rate was 10.21 per cent, according to the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB).
The time-loss injury rate decreased from 2.07 per cent to 1.86 per cent. Time loss claims fell by 604 claims to 7,813. Total claims fell 2,220 from 2015, an 8.69 per cent decrease.
The WCB’s CEO Peter Federko credits the injury prevention efforts of employers, workers, partners and the WCB’s own partnership in WorkSafe Saskatchewan and its goal Mission: Zero for the significant decreases.
“When we launched Mission: Zero in 2008, the intent was to bring about immediate and drastic reductions in Saskatchewan’s injury rates. We began a focused effort to enlist leaders, employers and the public to join us in the shared responsibility to make Saskatchewan workplaces safer. Clearly, they’ve responded.”
Eighty-eight per cent of Saskatchewan employers had zero injuries in 2016 and more than 85 per cent of WCB rate codes have lower total injury rates in 2016 than in 2015.
The decreases are more significant given that they have occurred consistently since 2008, despite ever increasing number of registered employers and an increase in the number of workers. In 2016, there were 420,279 Saskatchewan workers covered by the WCB.
But Don Morgan, the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety says there is still a long way to go.
“We are concerned that our progress may slow as the time, energy and resources businesses need to make a real change in safety culture become more challenging to access, especially in small- to medium-sized enterprises,” he said. “The Occupational Health and Safety Division continues to see varying levels of compliance when it comes to basic safety regulations.”
The provincial fatality rate has also decreased. It has dropped by 18.24 per cent from 2002 to 2016, but both Morgan and Federko point out that it still remains too high.
“Even one injury or death is too many. Last year 31 families were devastated by workplace deaths. Thirty-one people had their lives cut short because of something that occurred at work. It’s unacceptable. We mourn every lost life as one too many,” said Federko. “We need to be diligent every day as workers, as employers, and as citizens to keep ourselves and each other safe.”