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More employers to get surcharged in 2011, says WCB

By COS staff

While over half of WCB-covered employers in Nova Scotia will see their rates for workplace injury insurance decrease or hold steady next year, the number of employers who will receive a surcharge has increased, the WCB announced this week.

According to the WCB, the rates for 52 per cent of Nova Scotia employers will either decrease or stay the same. The remaining 48 per cent will see an increase. This translates to 92 employers paying higher premiums next year, an increase of more than 16 per cent from 79 in 2010.

“These numbers indicate that on the whole, we’re seeing pockets of improvement in the symptoms of Nova Scotia’s workplace injury epidemic,” WCB CEO Nancy MacCready-Williams said.

“Still, we are far from a cure. There are too many clear instances of injury’s human and financial impact, and there is still real need for improvement.”

The average rate of $2.65 per $100 of assessable payroll remains unchanged. Rates are based on the overall claims cost in an industry, combined with a firm’s own experience. They range from a low of $0.60 to a high of $10.15 per $100 of payroll in 2011.

Surcharges help to more fairly allocate the costs of Nova Scotia’s workplace injury, and they provide strong encouragement for employers to make improvements in their safety and return-to-work performance, the WCB said.

To be surcharged, an employer’s claims costs must be at least three times their industry average for at least four consecutive years. Surcharges are cumulative and can add an additional 20 per cent to a firm’s base rate each year.

Employers receive two warnings — one in each of the preceding two years — before they are surcharged.

As a result of a workplace fatality resulting from a car crash in 2008, the WCB is among the 253 employers receiving a surcharge warning notice.

“Sometimes it’s easy to think that those who work in an office environment are not susceptible to workplace hazards. But workplace injury can happen to anyone.

“Over the past two years, we have been humbled, saddened and moved to action by the tragic loss of one of our own. We encourage all employers to read their experience rating statement closely, and to act upon it toward improving the health and safety of their workplaces, and the province as a whole,” MacCready-Williams said.

More details on how WCB rates are set, along with the list of employers who will be surcharged in 2011 is available at

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