30 workplace-related deaths in N.L. in 2013

Published on April 24, 2014

Thirty workplace-related fatalities were recorded in 2013 in Newfoundland and Labrador, five as a result of workplace accidents and 25 from occupational illnesses, according to statistics released today by the province's workers' compensation commission.

That number is up from a total of 26 workplace fatalities, 20 from occupational disease, reported for 2012.

On a positive note, the Workplace Health Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC)  said the lost-time incidence rate in Newfoundland and Labrador workplaces remained at a historic low of 1.6 per 100 workers in 2013, the same as 2012.

The lost-time incidence rate represents the number of injured workers who received compensation while missing time from work due to a workplace incident or accident.

The WHSCC said the rate had been decreasing steadily for 13 years, and has improved dramatically from its high of 5.2 per 100 workers in 1989. For 2013, 92.1 per cent of employers in the province are injury-free, up from 91.8 per cent in 2012. It said these improvements are significant given that annual average employment in the province is rising.

“Workers, employers, the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission, the Occupational Health and Safety Branch of Service NL and other organizations are to be commended for making our workplaces safer,” Service NL Minister Dan Crummell, the minister responsible for the WHSCC, said in a news release. “All stakeholders are providing important leadership around improving our safety culture and we’re seeing tangible results.  Safety is everyone’s responsibility and together we can prevent injuries in our workplaces”.

The commission said young workers, aged 15 to 24 years, continue to lead the province in reducing workplace injuries. For 2013, youth reported 1.5 lost-time incidents per 100 workers, up slightly from 1.4 in 2012. However, this rate continues to trend below the provincial injury rate.

 Lost-time incidents for falls from heights decreased to 8.5 per 10,000 workers in 2013, down slightly from 8.6 in 2012 and down significantly from 11.8 five years ago.

 “We strongly believe that workplace-related injuries and illnesses can be prevented. Every worker deserves to come home safely at the end of their work day,” said WHSCC CEO Leslie Galway. “We will continue to work with our stakeholders to focus on awareness and training to help prevent injuries and occupational disease," Galway said.