There was no significant increase in claims to the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board, even considering the pandemic was in full swing last year. CEO Phil Germain says over 330 COVID-19 claims were submitted and about 65 per cent were accepted. Of the remainder, about 75 per cent didn’t have the virus. Their tests came back negative, but they had submitted a claim to be proactive. Of those that had COVID but weren’t accepted, there transmission was traced back to a source that wasn’t work related.
Germain suggests if there is any silver lining to the pandemic, it’s that it seems to have heightened the sense of managing safety in the workplace. He believes it could be a factor in 90 per cent of workplaces achieving the goal of zero injuries or fatalities last year. It was 88 per cent in 2019.
Last year, the Saskatchewan Workers Compensation Board accepted 34 fatalities claims in 2020 compared to 36 in 2019. WorkSafe’s focus in 2020 was around asbestos exposures, work-related vehicle accidents, firefighter cancer exposures, falls from heights, health care, transportation, first responders with psychological injuries, and manufacturing, in particular with hand injuries.