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WCB Nova Scotia announces focus on health care after high assessment rates


The high cost of workplace injury in long-term care and home care is beginning to show in 2017 rates, with increases in assessment rates for both industry groups, the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia (WCB) has announced.

Long-term care is seeing a rate increase of six per cent, while home care is seeing an increase of 13 per cent. The health and social services sector is the largest sector in the province, with more than double the injuries of any other. The vast majority of these are soft tissue injuries related to lifting and moving people. Looking closer within health overall, long-term care and home care account for 30 per cent of the payroll, but 60 per cent of time-loss claims and costs.

WCB is part of a broad group of industry and government leaders developing a health and safety action plan for the industry, much like the work that was done in the fishing industry a few years ago.

In 2017, the fishing industry continues to see great progress with a 16 per cent rate drop. Since 2015, the industry rate for fishing has decreased a total of 32 per cent, from $8.06 per $100 of assessable payroll to $5.46. Improvements in fishing are an example of how, when an industry comes together like they did to develop Fishing Safety Now in 2015, real change can happen, said WCB.

“Our work with industry leadership in fishing proved to be successful. But now we have a new challenge – take our learnings from the fishing sector, and adapt it to health care,” said WCB Nova Scotia CEO Stuart MacLean. “We all need to do what we can to keep healthcare workers safe on the job. We need to educate, collaborate, and do things differently to create a new safety culture.”

WCB rates are responsive to an employer’s workplace safety and return to work performance. While the average rate is holding steady for the 13th year at $2.65 per $100 of assessable payroll, about 58 per cent of employers will pay less than they did last year, and 42 per cent will pay more. A small number of employers are surcharged, meaning their cost experience is at least three times higher than their industry average for at least four consecutive years.

“Nova Scotia has made significant progress over the last ten years in workplace safety culture, and it’s encouraging to see many employers truly committed to the health and safety of their workers,” said MacLean. “But there will always be work to do as we work toward our vision of making our province the safest place to work in Canada.”

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