WorkSafeNB is lowering its assessment rate for 2021.
The assessment rate, a premium businesses pay to WorkSafeNB for coverage of rehabilitation and compensation benefits for employees, will go from $2.40 per $100 of assessable payroll in 2020 to $2.17 per $100 in 2021. This means New Brunswick businesses will pay less next year.
The numbers for 2021 are based on figures collected during the 2019 calendar year.
WorkSafeNB said the change is due to fewer workplace accidents, lower claims costs and reduced administration costs.
Doug Jones, WorkSafeNB’s president and CEO, said a shift in priority toward accident prevention helped create a safer work environment at New Brunswick businesses.
“We’re putting more focus on safety,” Jones said of the decreased assessment. “(Businesses) want to be safe, and so we’ve noticed more efforts out there. And I think, quite frankly, some of it had to do with the rates increasing, too. People — it got their attention — and said, ‘What do we have to do to keep the rates down?’ And the best way to do that is to run a safe operation.”
Jones said the province recorded the lowest lost-time injury frequency in the last 10 years.
He said WorkSafeNB reached out to several employers who saw significant reductions to try to identify trends but was not able to point to anything definitive.
“But we saw a reduction across the board,” Jones said. “Particularly with the three biggest rate groups, which would be construction, retail and health care. And they saw some pretty significant declines.”
Jones said the rate for 2022 is also trending downward. Those figures are based on 2020. He said it’s not clear what type of impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had, with many people working from home and at a reduced risk for workplace injuries.