The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) says the province’s total workplace injury rate decreased by 10 per cent in 2020 and the time loss injury rate, which is defined by any injury that results in at least one full day lost, decreased by four per cent.
According to WCB injury statistics released Wednesday, the workplace total injury rate for 2020 was 4.46 per 100 workers, a 10 per cent decrease from 2019.
From 2008 to 2020, the workplace total injury rate dropped by more than 56 per cent.
The WCB statistics also show that 90 per cent of Saskatchewan employers achieved zero injuries last year.
“Last year, fewer people and their families were affected because someone was hurt at work,” WCB chairperson Gord Dobrowolsky said in a release.
“Employers, workers, safety leaders and labour unions all around the province have worked diligently to bring down our injury rates.”
He goes on to say that although these stats suggest improvements have been made, more work still needs to be done.
The 2020 time loss injury rate is the lowest rate in more than a decade.
“Although the reductions in the total injury and time loss injury rates are a step in the right direction,” said the minister responsible for the WCB, Don Morgan, “every workplace injury in Saskatchewan is one too many.
“We cannot become complacent in our efforts to make all workplaces safe,” he adds.
The WCB says claims have also decreased:
- Total claims accepted decreased by 16 per cent to 17,944 in 2020 from 21,473 in 2019.
- The total number of workers covered decreased to 402,306 in 2020 from 433,622 in 2019.
- Accepted no time loss claims decreased to 10,788 in 2020 from 13,415 in 2019.
- Accepted time loss claims decreased to 7,134 in 2020 from 8,036 in 2019
Despite that time loss and total injury rates have seen a slow and steady decline, there is a consistent number of serious injuries and fatalities, approximately 2,500 annually, that are accepted by the WCB.
The WCB says there were 34 workplace fatalities in 2020, compared to 36 in 2019, which is a decrease of six per cent.
The board says these deaths occurred in a variety of industries across the province.
“Each of the 34 deaths that occurred in 2020 has had a shattering impact on the loved one’s family and community,” said the WCB’s CEO Phil Germain.
“We must continue to focus on preventing workplace deaths and serious injuries and eliminate this suffering in our province.”
WorkSafe Saskatchewan, a partnership between the WCB and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, continues to implement initiatives outlined in the Fatalities and Serious Injuries Strategy, which launched in December 2019.
The strategy was created by WorkSafe, along with employer and labour representatives to address high-risk industries, occupations and the tasks within those industries resulting in fatalities and serious injuries.
The WCB says WorkSafe’s focus in 2020 was in the following eight areas: asbestos exposures, work-related motor vehicle crashes, firefighter cancer exposures, falls from heights (construction industry), health care, transportation, first responders (psychological injuries) and manufacturing (specifically hand injuries).
“The Fatalities and Serious Injuries Strategy is all about reducing the number of workers killed and seriously injured on the job,” Germain said.
“In 2020, we added resources to the WorkSafe website, developed marketing campaigns and created partnerships with employers and organized labour with the common goal of reducing serious injuries.”
Germain says at the end of the day what matters most is that workers stay safe on the job so they can go home to their families.