Nova Scotia is getting safer. Our province’s workplace injury rate is at a 15 year low.
But we still have a lot of work to do to until workplace injuries become a thing of the past.
A big part of that challenge is eliminating back injuries. Back injuries continue to hurt people, productivity and profits across Nova Scotia.
Last year, more than 2,000 Nova Scotia workers suffered a serious back injury on the job. That accounts for 30 per cent of all lost time injuries in Nova Scotia. Back injuries cost the province’s workplace insurance system $7 million annually for income replacement benefits, a cost that is borne by Nova Scotia employers in the form of higher insurance rates.
Back injuries happen in every industry in Nova Scotia. Look at the health and social services sectors as one example. Last year, 635 people suffered a serious back injury. That represents almost 41 per cent of all lost-time injuries in this sector.
Back injuries are also the most frequent injury in Nova Scotia’s manufacturing industry. There were 228 serious back injuries in manufacturing workplaces last year, accounting for 29 per cent of all the sector’s injuries.
And in the construction industry, back injuries are also the most frequent workplace injury. In 2011, 176 workers in the construction industry suffered a serious back injury. That’s 27 per cent of all lost-time injuries in this sector.
In fact, back injuries are generally the most common injury across workplaces throughout Nova Scotia.
We can change that.
Every single back injury is avoidable. But it takes awareness, planning and leadership to change the way we work and avoid those injuries.
The Workers’ Compensation Board has launched a new campaign to reduce the number of back injuries in Nova Scotia. Part of the campaign is calling on workers and employers to become “Back Protection Agents” in order to bring the message of back safety deeper into the province’s workplaces.
You can find out more about this effort, and become a Back Protection Agent, at www.worksafeforlife.ca