B.C.’s 2019 workplace death rate matched a record high of 203 set six years ago, with two thirds of those accepted as WorkSafeBC claims at a cost of almost $1.34 billion, a jump of $113 million.
The rate dropped in 2015 but has crept back up as the number of injuries increased year over year, the report from B.C.’s workplace health and safety regulator said.
Of the 140 death claims accepted as compensable in 2019, 32 were for workers receiving long-term disability benefits who died from causes related to their compensable injuries or diseases.
However, the report noted, some deaths accepted as compensable in 2019 occurred in a prior year.
Of the 2019 deaths reported by March 31, 2020, 26 were from motor vehicle incidents, 57 from other injuries, 65 due to asbestos and 55 to other diseases. Asbestos exposure has been the leading cause of work-related death claims in the past decade.
The construction sector is B.C.’s deadliest, with 33 deaths in 2019, general construction leading the way with 30 deaths.
Transportation and warehousing saw 25 deaths, manufacturing 24, public administration 21, the service sector 19 and retail and wholesale trade one each.
The forestry sector leads primary resource industries for 2019 deaths at eight, followed by oil, gas and mineral resource (3), fishing (2) and agriculture (1).
In 2019, 3,239,454 days were lost from work as a result of occupational injury and disease. One third of that was in the service sector, followed by the transportation and warehousing sectors and public administration.
In 2019, there were 5,440 claims of a mental disorder resulting from work-related stressors, including bullying, harassment and mental disorders that are a reaction to work-related traumatic events. Of those claims, 2,310 were allowed. The largest number of such claims came from the service sector with 3,064 claims up from 1,880 in 2016.
WorkSafeBC covers 2.51 million workers at 249,336 registered, insured employers.
From those employers with assessable payroll of almost $111.67 billion, WorkSafeBC assessed $1.64 billion in premiums.