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Breadcrumb Trail LinksLocal BusinessWorkplace fatality rate has WCB ‘stumped’The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) is “stumped” as to why the province’s workplace fatality rate is relatively flat while its injury rate has been declining for more than a decade, according to its vice president of prevention and employer services. Photo by Michelle Berg /Saskatoon StarPhoenixArticle contentThe Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) is “stumped” as to why the province’s workplace fatality rate is relatively flat while its injury rate has been declining for more than a decade, according to its vice president of prevention and employer services.”On a big picture, we don’t exactly know,” Philip Germain said Tuesday, noting that a combination of tools including education and compliance enforcement helpedthe province’s workplace injury rate to fallmore than 50 per cent between 2002 and 2015, while the number of workplace related deaths has remained “flat” over the same period.Article content continuedOf the 32 deaths accepted by the WCB last year, 17 stemmed from incidents that happened in 2015 while the remaining 15 were rooted in events that took place in 2014 or earlier. Twelve deaths were caused by motor vehicles including trucks, trains and helicopters while 14 were caused by exposure to asbestos and other toxic materials, a dozenof which happened before 2015.Germain saidthere are several possible explanations for the flat rate, including exposures to asbestos that occurred years or even decades ago and the persistently high rate of fatal incidents involving motor vehicles.At the same time, the province’s culture could also explain why people continue to die on the job, he said.”There are likely fatalities happening because people really aren’t aware of the risks they’re taking People could be knowingly taking on these risks with the kind of fundamental belief that it’s not going to happen to them,” Germain said, adding that the WCB has engaged the University of Saskatchewan to help parse its data and look for more explanations and solutions.The stable number of workplace deathssuggests that the province currently isn’t doing enough to prevent fatal injuries and exposure to carcinogens such as asbestos, according to Jesse Todd, chair of the Saskatchewan Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (SADAO).Article content continuedTodd, who is also currently chair of the Saskatchewan Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, said concentrating resources on workplace safety does more than preserveemployees, employers and their families from terrible experiences.

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