Safety Accountability Catching On World-Wide


Safety & Return-to-Work Will Have Bigger Impact
Improvements to the workplace insurance rate model mean employers’ safety and return-to-work records will have a bigger impact on rates, the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia (WCB) announced recently.
The Board is introducing changes to make rates more responsive, to encourage positive change, and to ultimately reduce the human and financial cost of workplace injury in the province.
“An employer’s cost for WCB insurance depends on two things – the cost of claims in their industry overall, and the cost of claims in their individual workplace,” said Stuart MacLean, CEO of the WCB. “Many employers are making valuable investments in safety within their workplaces, and we’re changing the rate setting model to more accurately reflect their efforts.”
Bigger Impact When Fatality Occurs
Among the rate model improvements are changes that make rates more responsive to an individual employer’s efforts to implement and maintain safety and return-to-work improvements. There will also be a bigger impact on rates when a fatality occurs.  The WCB will continue its practice of offering financial incentives to encourage safety improvements.
Each year the WCB issues surcharges to employers whose claims costs are significantly and consistently higher than their industry peers. In 2013,90 employers will receive a surcharge, down from 96 in 2012. Surcharged employers have claims costs that are at least three times their industry average for at least four consecutive years. Surcharges are cumulative and can add an additional 20 percent or more to a firm’s base rate each year.  Employers can qualify for surcharge rebates if they make safety investments.
Average Rate Holding Steady
For the ninth consecutive year, the average rate for 2013 is holding steady at $2.65 per $100 of assessable payroll.  Rates are decreasing by more than 10 percent in a number of industries including printing, shipbuilding and boatbuilding, used goods moving and storage and dairy farms. Bakeries, site work (excavating, paving and landscaping), stevedoring, general freight trucking and building material sales, are among the industries whose rates are increasing.
While there has reportedly been significant progress in injury reduction over the past several years, 27 workers in Nova Scotia lost their lives in the workplace last year, and there were 6,616 injuries serious enough for the worker to require time away from work. 
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  Contact:
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.

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