Workplace injuries make $19-billion dent

November 9, 2015

Workplace injuries may be prevalent in certain industries but no organization is truly exempt and studies show Canadian employers are battling a widespread, increasingly expensive, epidemic.

According to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada, the direct and indirect costs associated with workplace injuries and illnesses add up to a staggering $19 billion every year – just $1 billion less than the Canadian military’s entire 2015 budget.

Widespread risk

That eye-watering figure is the result of almost a quarter of a million lost-time injuries occurring every year and while it’s fair to say some fields face more obvious safety concerns than others, almost every workplace will experience an employee injury at some point or another.

However, a recent study by the AWCBC revealed exactly which industries are most at-risk. The top ten areas in which lost time injuries occur are:

Health and social service – 40,814
Manufacturing – 36,189
Construction – 27,432
Retail – 26,853
Transportation and storage – 16,878
Government services – 16,051
Wholesale trade – 11,441
Business services – 6,725
Educational services – 6,648
Communications and utilities – 4,652

The AWCBC study also showed just who these unfortunate injuries are happening to – with approximately 151,600 men injured and 90,200 women.

The investigation also separated those afflicted by age:

  • Age 15-25: 30,380 injuries
  • Age 25-34: 50,761 injuries
  • Age 35-44: 53,062 injuries
  • Age 45-54: 63,417 injuries
  • Age 55-64: 38,137 injuries
  • Age 65+: 6,015 injuries

Everyone’s issue

With every age and every industry affected to some degree, HRM asked an industry expert about the most common mistakes employers make when it comes to handling workplace injury claims.

“Organizations often underestimate its importance by devaluing the complexity and granularity of managing a workplace injury,” warns co-founder Neil Sharma.

“The financial implication of improperly managing a workplace injury claim is also often ignored,” he adds. “The reality is that the cost of improperly managing a workplace injury can be punitive both financially and operationally – and it can seriously affect the business decisions of an organization.”

So what’s his advice? First, commit fully to a culture of health and safety.

“This will raise the awareness and importance of workplace injuries right across the entire organization,” he stresses. “Then, and only then will you begin to truly begin the process of properly managing workplace injuries.”

Lindsay McDonnellWorkplace injuries make $19-billion dent