Workplace deaths and injury rates decline in 2017

Saskatchewan’s workplaces are slowly getting safer.

Statistics released by the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) on Tuesday reveal declines in the workplace injury rate and total number of reported claims. The WCB also reported that 88 per cent of Saskatchewan employers had no workplace injuries, and roughly 57 per cent of WCB rate codes had lower total injury rates in 2017 than the year before.

Most encouraging of all, the total number of workplace deaths is on the decline.

WCB chairperson Gord Dobrowolsky credited public campaigns like Mission: Zero for helping create more awareness of workplace dangers.

“Thanks to injury prevention efforts of workers, employers and safety partners around the province, we have seen significant reductions in Saskatchewan’s injury rates,” he said in a media release. “Since we launched Mission: Zero in 2008, workers leaders, employers and the public have responded to make Saskatchewan workplaces safer.”

According to the WCB’s numbers, the total workplace injury rate has dropped from 10.21 per cent in 2008 to 5.25 per cent in 2017.

The total number of reported claims also decreased from 29,953 in 2016 to 28,952 last year, as did the number of workplace fatalities, which fell from 31 in 2016 to 27 in 2017.

However, it wasn’t all good news. Time loss claims jumped slightly from 7,813 in 2016 to 7,888 in 2017, while the time loss injury rate remained the same at 1.86 per cent.

Dobrowolsky said those figures show there is still work to do in effectively identifying and controlling workplace hazards.

“Now is not the time to become complacent,” he said.

WCB CEO Peter Federko was also happy to see injury rates falling, but he remained concerned with the high number of workplace deaths.

“This is a tragedy, (that) 27 people lost their lives and their families are forever impacted,” he said in a media release. No workplace injuries are acceptable.”

Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan echoed those sentiments in his own statement.

Morgan called the 2017 numbers “encouraging,” but added that diligence was still required to keep workplace conditions safe.

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