Biz must focus on reducing injuries

If the Whitehorse business community wants WCB rates to drop, it should work to reduce employee injuries. It’s that simple.

If the Whitehorse business community wants WCB rates to drop, it should work to reduce employee injuries.

It’s that simple.

Last week, the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board announced that assessment rates were rising an average of 11 per cent effective January 1.

That gave Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce president Rick Karp a case of the vapours.

The chamber expected assessment rates to drop.

That’s a strange expectation.

Given the dangerous local working conditions, that’s not how the system works.

The WCB was established to protect both workers and businesses.

Through it, workers have relinquished their right to sue employers, which, in the case of a large settlement, might wipe out a business that employed many people, depriving them of their livelihood.

Employers get peace of mind — they don’t have to worry that a single injured employee, or several, will wipe out their life’s work.

Of course, the system works best when there are few injuries.

Like any insurance plan, if an industry embraces safety, then there should be fewer claims and rates drop.

If not, then claim costs rise and so do rates.

This is what is happening in the territory.

The Yukon boasts one of the worst injury records in western Canada.

The claims tally outside the WBC offices is currently rocketing towards last year’s record of 1,984 — that’s fully 13 per cent of the territory’s workforce.

That injury rate is, frankly, ridiculous.

It borders on the criminal.

Something needs to be done.

And, as is often pointed out, businesses take notice when costs start to rise. Clearly, it’s the one thing that gets attention.

Well, several categories of Yukon businesses will see rates drop because they’ve kept their injury rates down.

Farmers, survey companies, school bus lines, metal mines, water-well drillers, air services, outfitters, long-haul truckers, gas drillers and sawmills and bush slashing companies.

These businesses should be rewarded. And they have been.

But more than 50 categories will see rates rise.


Because their claims costs are high.


Because workers in those industries have been injured.

Diamond drill companies, placer miners, exploration companies are going to be the worst hit — because their claims costs exceed the amount the board is paying to their injured workers.

Retailers and restaurants will also see an increase, though far less severe than the aforementioned heavy industries.

Still, the increased costs should force employers to review their operations with an eye to safety.

If they curb injuries, the WCB rates should drop in the future.

That’s the way the system is supposed to work.

Rather than blaming the board, or begrudging injured workers their settlements, businesses should strive to improve safety.

It would improve the bottom line.

And, more important but often forgotten, it might save a life or a limb. (RM)

Just Posted

Teachers’ Association president placed on leave following ‘serious’ allegations

‘I’m going to let the membership decide what it is that they want to do about this’

Air North announces new flight to Victoria

‘We hope the new route helps families connect with families’

Whitehorse council squabbles over Robert Service Campground repairs

‘Is it going to be Disneyland or something?’

Closing arguments underway in Darryl Sheepway murder trial

Defence lawyers began closing submissions Dec. 7

Is the Yukon government reducing its emissions? Nobody knows

‘Before we go out and put out any data, I want to make sure that it’s reliable’

Celebrating 40 years of celebrating Yukon’s history

This year the Yukon Historical and Museums Association marks a major milestone

All about recalls

If your ride is subject to a recalll, take it in right away

Whitehorse tyke hockey program embraces half-ice setup

‘If they’re on half-ice, they get to touch the puck’

Yukon Men’s Basketball League expands in fourth season

‘Come playoff time, guys get a little more intense and the skill level increases’

The very long term view on commodity prices

A Long-Run Version of the Bank of Canada Commodity Price Index is as hot a title as it sounds

Appeal court hears case of Old Crow woman who says sentence unfairly factored in marijuana use

Lena Josie’s lawyer says she was denied discharge on assault because of unrelated marijuana use

Council of Yukon First Nations hosts training for Gladue report writing

CYFN hopes the training will be ongoing help build a reserve of Gladue writers in the Yukon

Imagine that: Yukon’s cannabis debate has been reasonable

Politicians here haven’t said anything blatantly insane, uninformed or stupid. That’s a win

Most Read