Q&A on occupational versus non-occupational injury trends

Some frequently asked questions about IWH's eight-year study on trends in work-related versus non-work injury rates

Q: Could the decline in injury rates be due to workplaces not reporting injuries to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)? Or could it mean the WSIB is accepting fewer claims?

A: This study did not consider workers’ compensation claims. This study is based on emergency department records where clinical staff determined there was a work-related cause in the course of taking a medical history. It also uses responses to Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey, which asked people whether they experienced an injury serious enough to limit normal activity, whether the injury occurred at work, and whether the injury was serious enough to seek medical help. Respondents who answered yes to all three were included in this study.

Q: Could the decline in workplace injuries be explained by a slowdown in the economy?

A: The findings in this study show that the 2008-2009 recession did indeed have an impact, but the decline in work-related injury rates is seen well before the financial crisis. Recessions do result in lower work injury rates. There may be several reasons for this. In an economic slowdown, the first to lose their jobs are young and inexperienced workers—the very same groups of workers with the higher injury rates. Recessions also bring about a slower pace of work. For a more detailed discussion of this link, see our Issue Briefing on the topic: www.iwh.on.ca/briefings/business-cycle and www.iwh.on.ca/briefings/workers-compensation-claims-and-the-recession.

Source: At Work, Issue 79, Winter 2015: Institute for Work & Health, Toronto

See also: