Every occupation comes with some injury risk, whether someone sits behind a desk or works in a safety-sensitive work environment. No matter where a work-related accident happens, it can have a tremendous impact on workers and their families.
Below, we look at some occupational injury statistics that can help employers and employees appreciate the importance of prioritizing safety in every workspace.
By the numbers
According to statistics from WorkSafeBC, over 140,000 workers in British Columbia reported a work-related injury in 2021. Over 160 of these accidents proved to be fatal. Some of the most common non-fatal injuries Canadians reported include:
- Strains (i.e., damage to muscles, tendons, or nerves)
- Occupational disease (i.e., asthma, inhalation of fumes, or hearing-loss)
- Cuts and contusions
- Ergonomic injury
- Head trauma
These and other work-related illnesses and injuries can be incredibly disruptive. In fact, injured workers missed about 3.65 million days of work in 2021.
Often, workers get hurt due to incidents like:
- Slips and trips
- Falls from heights
- Falling objects
- Being caught in or crushed by machinery
- Poor ventilation
These conditions may or may not be the result of negligence, but often, work accidents are preventable with appropriate safety protocols.
British Columbia’s occupational health and safety legislation and regulations set out extensive guidance, as well as express obligations on all parties in the workplace, to help prevent accidents. Employers and employees are often compliant in putting in protective systems, such as ergonomic tools, to reduce injuries in the workplace. Protective equipment is also used to help minimize the extent of injuries if one does occur.
Proper training is also a vital component of safe workplaces. Through training, parties can avoid creating hazards and identify unsafe conditions before an on-the-job accident occurs.
Coping with injuries
Despite employers and employees generally doing their best to comply with their health and safety obligations, work-related injuries will continue to happen in the workplace. It is crucial to keep in mind that these cases aren’t purely about statistics. Instead, they are about the individuals and businesses affected by days of missed work, lost productivity, mounting costs and other personal and financial ramifications arising from workplace injuries.
Employers with ongoing questions about how to best manage workplace accidents, injury claims, or transitioning employees back to work may benefit from the assistance of capable workplace legal counsel. Similarly, employees struggling with workers’ compensation matters or disability claims may appreciate the guidance of an employment lawyer at this difficult time.